CAPE TOWN – The outgoing Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s last state of the province address (Sopa) on Friday met with bitter opposition from the ANC, making for dramatic scenes in and outside of the provincial legislature.
In the hours before the speech, in which Zille set out the provincial government’s work over the past decade, ANC supporters gathered outside the building in large numbers.
This was later followed by a staged walk-out by ANC members while Zille was delivering the address, an act described by the DA Chief Whip in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament, Mark Wiley, as one of political delinquency.
“The staged walk-out of Premier Helen Zille’s state of the province address by Western Cape ANC members today is an act of calculated political delinquency which flouted democratic processes and is a slap in the face to the majority of the voters in this province who have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a DA-led government for over a decade," Wiley said.
ANC members, led by the party’s acting provincial chairman Khaya Magaxa, first disrupted Zille’s address then walked out during the first half to join the the protest taking place outside the legislature.
At a media briefing in Cape Town on Wednesday, the ANC had called on residents from across Cape Town to occupy Wale Street to hear “the real state of the Western Cape government under the administration of the DA".
During the first half of the speech, Zille had accused the ANC of dismantling many of the key areas under its responsibility which include all state-owned enterprises.
“Many of the key areas under the national responsibility, on which we all depend, have all collapsed. This includes, most worryingly the criminal justice pipeline, policing and investigating capacity, the train system, major water supply projects, land restitution and redistribution, state procurement systems and of course all state-owned enterprises,” she said, adding that corruption was so entrenched in the fabric of the national government that it was hard to see how it would be eradicated without destroying the governing party.
"Corruption is so entrenched in the fabric of the national government but it’s hard to see how it can be eradicated without destroying the governing party. To the extent that our constitutional mandate allows, the Western Cape has a different narrative.”
Outside, during the protest, Magaxa accused the DA of caring only for the “white rich” and not ordinary poor people and of "frustrating" Africans by referring to them as refugees.
“You will never get a government like that, even in Zimbabwe, even in any poorest country. Here in the Western Cape, the help is for the rich but not the ordinary poor people. This government cares for white rich and what kind of government is that?” he asked.
African News Agency (ANA)