IN DEFENCE OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

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COUNCILLOR Jane Cowlew’s letter in TotT of May 12 refers.

The councillor attempts to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public into believing that the process of delimitation of inner ward boundaries was flawed and greatly influenced by the ANC’s underhandedness.

Her argument against the “unlawful” split of DA wards sounds logical and convincing but when placed under a litmus test it just doesn’t make sense. The DA is renowned for running to courts of law whenever they feel aggrieved about something and there is an abundance of  evidence lying  around in that regard.

Why is the party not taking the matter of “unlawful” split of DA wards to court? Section 42 of the Demarcation Act makes provision for anyone who feels unhappy with the process to approach the courts of law and register their objection. That is the only way we shall determine the validity of Cowley’s assertions.

The councillor alleges that the process under discussion was an exercise in “incompetence”. Strangely, section 7 [1] of the Demarcation Act of 1998 prescribes that those appointed to serve on the Demarcation Board should possess certain qualifications. Examples of these include geographic information system cartography, development economics, social and economic geography, town and regional planning and constitutional matters affecting local government, just to mention a few. Even the actual recruitment is done through media advertisements circulating nationally and in each of the provinces.

According to Cowley, “the MDB acknowledged receipt of the objections but nothing more”. The answer lies in section 22 [5] of the Demarcation Act which states that the board must consider objections and (b) “either confirm, vary or withdraw its determination”.

Moving away from the legal and administrative matters, her letter is littered with a plethora of politically incorrect statements. She erroneously assumes that the governing party stunts and divides the growing support of the opposition by splitting DA wards. We should all acknowledge the fact that apartheid created a racially scarred human settlement pattern in South Africa.

Accordingly, section 25 of the Demarcation Act aims at bringing about cohesive, integrated and unfragmented areas including the sharing of financial and administrative resources. This section is further complimented by chapter 8 of the National Development Plan which emphasises strong and efficient planning systems as well as the upgrading of all informal settlements to suitable lands.

In her article, Cowley sees the majority of people in Boknes/Cannon rocks and Wentzel Park as sharing a common language and history and therefore feels they should not be divided. Sadly, there is no mention of sharing the same space with the people living in KwaNonkqubela, whereas they too have lived in the area all these years. Historically they were only relevant as suppliers of black labour under the system of apartheid which used the Group Areas Act, Act 41 of 1950, to create a cheap supply of labour living separately next to white residential areas.

The time has come to deracialise human settlement patterns and defeat apartheid spatial logic in the country.

PHINDILE FAXI, ANC COUNCILLOR

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