Donwald Pressly: The elite conspiracy – both black and white | Fin24
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Donwald Pressly: The elite conspiracy – both black and white

Jul 05 2016 06:30

By Donwald Pressly*

Tony Ehrenreich is no ordinary politician. As Cape Town Press Club chairwoman Joylene van Wyk put it: He doesn’t mince his words. He says it as it is.

Ehrenreich is an interesting political creature. He has taken an extraordinary stance of making his own salary – actually salaries – public knowledge. His city council salary is given to good works. He doesn’t spend a cent of it on himself.

Ehrenreich, who is secretary of Cosatu in the Western Cape, lives on his Cosatu salary. He says that this openness should be the “standard” that should be set for elites in politics, business, and trade unions.

He joked at the start of his address on what the City of Cape Town should look like at the Cape Town Press Club that he was glad the audience was clapping – because they would not do so at the end. He then went on to slam white business – with whom he said the mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille colluded. But he also said that there was a conspiracy of elites. “More and more the black elites are living the high life of white elites,” with the luxury German vehicles getting bigger and bigger as the days go by.

These businesses were advantaged by their relationship with the current DA elites in city government, but they had also been advantaged by their apartheid system of the past.

These businesses were advantaged by their relationship with the current DA elites in city government, but they had also been advantaged by their apartheid system of the past.

Mayor lunches with capitalists

“It is reported the mayor of the city (De Lille) goes to Camp’s Bay and has lunch with developers to discuss developments in those areas. Soon after that we see land being rezoned and passed on to developers,” he said. In this process the poor were being sidelined. But when the mayor went to the Cape Flats “she wears a mask over her mouth…because sanitation problems are so severe that it does pose a real health risk. But it represents a lack of sensitivity. It shows that people have to confront those conditions every day. but she (De Lille) reflects a complete dissociation with the problems that do exist.”

Tony Ehrenreich. Pic: Twitter @volksbladnuus

Many blunders committed by the ANC

Naturally De Lille is his key opponent, so he is not expected to say nice things about her. But he also was critical of President Jacob Zuma. “Many blunders,” he said, had been made by the ANC. “We must take responsibility for that… and the many instances that our president hasn’t always done (things) in the best way that he should have.”

In Cape Town service delivery had not been prioritised to the poor. Instead of the MyCiti bus service prioritising the Cape Flats – including Mitchell’s Plain, the vast coloured township, and the black townships of Langa and Khayelitsha – it ran first to Milnerton to the CBD and the Atlantic Seaboard, the old white leafy areas.

The fact that people had been on housing lists for up to 30 years showed that there was something wrong with the delivery system to the poor. The practice of old established businesses getting the city tenders as a matter of routine – or because of political connections – had to end. There had to be empowerment of black workers and business owners.

Pressed on why the ANC was retreating electorally in coloured – and probably also African black areas – of the city, Ehrenreich was candid. He said in 1994 the Western Cape had voted for the apartheid National Party.  “It just shows that whatever happened… they (the apartheid forces) did a good job on the people’s psyche… better the devil you know.”

“There is also the legacy of the coloured preferential area (in the Western Cape),” he said, arguing this had an impact on voting patterns in the Western Cape.

He said the ANC’s overall vote had not dipped, but the DA vote had increased. He ascribed this to a 95% turnout in white areas of the city and increased support – and turnout – for the DA in coloured areas of Cape Town. The Economic Freedom Fighters of Julius Malema were on the ascendancy too, he acknowledged. “They speak to the things that the ANC spoke about before 1994.. the things that we promised people… the EFF says it is actually going to do it.”

Ehrenreich also disrupted ANC feathers. Asked if he supported a move to a constituency system nationally, he said this should be done to increase the people’s voice. The current proportional system fed the interests of “party bosses” in all political parties.

Ehrenreich is on the ANC list for the upcoming local government elections in Cape Town. He has been replaced as mayoral candidate by Xolani Sotashe. He however, said that he would be withdrawing as a candidate as Cosatu – where he is Western Cape regional secretary – wished him to devote his work to the union.

  • Donwald Pressly, Editor Cape Messenger

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