Editorial: Helen Zille enjoyed the opera last night.

Helen Zille enjoyed the opera last night.

@helenzille: What a privilege, in our city, to listen to 3 Beethoven concertos in one night with a gr8 orchestra + world class solois,t Francois du Toit.

But last night was one of confusion, uncertainty and sorrow for the latest additions to a growing community who are stripped of land and dignity. Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille’s Anti Land Invasion Unit moved into Parkwood and violently evicted families. The city is not very good at fighting crime, redistributing land to the poor or treating the poor as anything other than voting fodder, but boy oh boy, they are world class at rendering the poor landless.

Its the one thing that they’re good at.

There is a war that is being waged against the poor in the Western Cape. Forced removals, the creation of ghettos in economic wastelands in the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town, development that threatens the food security of the poor, all of these and other disasters are created and maintained by a network of privilege and patronage. This network stretches from local government through to Wale Street and extends into boardrooms all over the province.

From Blikkiesdorp to Parkwood, from Wolwerivier to Khayelitsha, in municipalities all over the Western Cape, the Democratic Alliance and their corporate bedfellows capitalize on disaster.

They capitalize on natural disaster, such as fires or floods. They capitalize on economic disaster, such as the inability of tenants to pay rent on government property. They capitalize on disasters of their own engineering in forced removals that serve the economic interests of real estate developers and other corporate and political actors.

This is how Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille build ghettos of cheap, disposable labour comprised of people who enjoy little or no real protection afforded to them by labour legislation.

Land is for property developers, but not the poor. Sweetheart deals between the politically connected and the elite deprives the poor of land and economic opportunity. Patterns of stark disparity in economic means is entrenched and perpetuated.

A city that claims to be an “open opportunity” society and then deprives the residents of Blikkiesdorp and Wolwerivier of basic services and meaningful access to economic opportunities is a city that cannot be taken seriously. A city that claims to be a “caring society” while violently evicting the poor into permanent refugee camps is a cruel administration.

The contradictions must be exposed for what they truly are – the inevitable outcome of the confluence of capitalism and the neoliberal agenda of the DA where it governs. Blikkiesdorp has existed for 10 years – as long as the DA has governed in Cape Town. For a decade Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille have pandered to narrow economic interests at the expense of the poor.

While Helen Zille enjoys her classical music, she and Patricia de Lille are conductors of a symphony of suffering, lack and inequality among the poor in the Western Cape. For a government so uncaring, so compromised, there should be no adoration, no roses thrown on stage, and no encore performance. The DA must face the music.
Roscoe Palm
Editor
WCRedTide.org.za

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