ANC is keen to win in Cape Town's historic Bo-Kaap, says Duarte

ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte said the party is ‘keen to win’ the ward in which the historic Bo-Kaap is in, following a two-day visit to Cape Town.

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Issues of heritage, sports facilities and community building were on the agenda during a visit to Bo-Kaap by ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte on Thursday. 

Duarte had been in Cape Town for two days and ended her visit in Bo-Kaap where she drummed up support for the ANC candidate for Ward 77, community activist Jacky Poking. Duarte was joined by ANC Atlantic Seaboard consituency head Muhammad Khalid Sayed and NEC member Alvin Botes. 

Ward 77 comprises the suburbs of Bo-Kaap, Vredehoek, Oranjezicht and Tamboerskloof. Duarte told a community meeting the ANC was “keen to win the ward which Bo-Kaap is in.

Traditionally, Bo-Kaap had been a DA stronghold, but over 10 years, support has dropped. In the national and provincial elections the ANC increased its support from 17.96% in 2014 to 41.60% in 2019. Read here.

Duarte visited two homes and then took part in a community meeting. During Duarte’s first home visit, a couple, Baderoenaesa and Yusuf Bosch, complained about paying high rates of R3,000 despite being pensioners. At another home visit, Fagmie Solomons, one of the area’s most famous sports players, told Duarte sports facilities were needed for young people. 

At a community meeting at the Boorhaanol Cultural Hub, issues of sport facilities were also raised by sports clubs. 

The secretary of the soccer club FC Bo-Kaap, Saud Gamiet, told Duarte that because of a lack of sports facilities, young children had to travel to Athlone (some 15km away). He asked for public spaces that could be used for sports. Gamiet said there were potential superstars in Bo-Kaap but because they do not have spaces within their own communities to play, “we are keeping them behind”. 

Jacky Poking, an activist who has lived in the area and helped in the fight against high-rise developments in the area, said there was a similar problem of a lack of facilities across all sporting codes. 

Yusuf Ryland from the Schotsche Kloof/Walmers Rugby Club said his club had no training facilities in the area and had to train in the nearby Green Point suburb. Ryland said the club was fighting for a home ground and a training facility. After a back and forth with the City of Cape Town over facilities, Ryland said: “We think we’re just fighting a losing battle.”

In response to the issues raised over the lack of sports facilities, Duarte said pressure could be put on Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa to find public land for sports facilities, but the party could not “tell the City of Cape Town what to do”. 

On issues of safety and security, Duarte said the party could put pressure on their representatives in the legislature who are responsible for issues such as safety, to “step up”. The important thing was to empower Poking, but she “must be held accountable”. 

© Provided by Daily Maverick Jacky Poking, ANC candidate for Ward 77 and community activist. (Photo: Aisha Abdool Karim)

Speaking to Daily Maverick, Poking said it had been asked whether Bo-Kaap wanted to submit a candidate for the municipal elections, and her name came up. The next question was to decide if she was going to stand as an independent candidate or as part of the ANC. 

“Through that discussion, it became clear there is no option, no other way but to stand as an ANC candidate,” she said. 

“In a way, as secretary of the civic [the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association], it would be an extension of the community work I have already been doing – but taking it one step further, not just for Bo-Kaap but the ward.”  

However, the ward is not just Bo-Kaap, but other suburbs, which have different needs than her area. 

“Looking at that, the ward has similar challenges to Bo-Kaap. People might not be aware of it, but there are more things that bind us than actually separate us,” she said. 

But what are these similarities? 

“Vredehoek, as well as Tamboerskloof and Oranjezicht have issues in terms of heritage. They also want heritage protection overlay zones and they’ve been waiting. Just like they did, we were also waiting. We got ours, they didn’t,” she said. 

“You’ll find their residents at Heritage Western Cape fighting development and their voices are not being heard.”   

Other issues Poking pointed out that were similar were densification, traffic and safety.

“Except we don’t talk to each other. The way spatial planning is… we are in our neighbourhood, they’re in their neighbourhood… and we don’t realise those problems we also have and we can actually tackle it together.” 

Earlier in the day at a media briefing in Johannesburg, ANC Head of Elections Fikile Mbalula announced the party would be launching its manifesto on Monday, 27 September in Tshwane. 

Mbalula said the party would be “going back to communities to ask for the renewal of its democratic mandate in order to continue with the task of making our communities safer and even much better”. 

The party’s campaign has been overshadowed by issues around registration and a staff salary crisis. Mbalula told journalists that the ANC’s elections programme is “firmly on track and in full swing”. DM

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