Community leader defends Lindiwe Sisulu over public outburst caught on video

Human settlements, water & sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.
Human settlements, water & sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu. File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson

A Khayelitsha community leader has criticised the filming of human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu last week during a visit to Taiwan informal settlement in Cape Town.

Sisulu went to Taiwan informal settlement in Khayelitsha outside Cape Town on Tuesday to inspect damage to structures that were razed by a blaze recently, leaving 500 residents homeless.

During the inspection, Sisulu was confronted by Nkhosikhona Swaartbooi, 29, from Khayelitsha, leading to an exchange of words.

Swaartbooi, a member of an NGO called the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), recorded a video, which he later posted on social media.

Chairperson of Khayelitsha Development Forum Ndithini Tyhido condemned Swaartbooi's actions, accusing him of gatecrashing Sisulu’s meeting with residents of Taiwan and of raising issues unrelated to the fire that destroyed hundreds of homes in the settlement.

Sisulu could be seen lowering her face mask and arguing with Swaartbooi, who had told the minister that he hoped she would fulfil her promises.

Tyhido, who said he was speaking on behalf of the residents of Khayelitsha, said: “The nonsensical video making the rounds is not a representation of the people of Khayelitsha.

“I speak here with authority that this needs to be debated with SJC as an organisation. It is unfair for anyone to want to profile themselves and use the plight of the people whose houses were gutted by fire. It is completely nonsensical, it doesn’t deserve our attention at all as organisations.

“We are today getting reports that there are people who are sitting in a community hall in the middle of Covid-19 without food. Then some lousy attention-seeking boy goes around with a video on our behalf, and we reject this.”

Swaartbooi refused to comment when contacted by TimesLIVE on Sunday morning.

Sisulu’s office accused Swaartbooi of attempting to score “cheap personal credit”.

Sisulu’s spokesperson, McIntosh Polela, said: “In his interaction with the minister during her visit in Taiwan, the man clearly sought to insert himself and score cheap personal credit rather than continue to push and assist the minister.

Minister Sisulu is in consultation with her lawyers and will not be deterred from serving the poorest of the poor and finding a permanent solution for the people of Taiwan ... and other communities across the country affected by similar disasters.”


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