Jordan Griffiths, the City of Tshwane’s chief of staff, has accused ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba of using the plight of poor people to score political points for his new party ahead of the upcoming municipal elections in October.
Griffiths had a go at Mashaba after he promised to seek a legal recourse on behalf of people who were left displaced after the localised floods in Mamelodi in December 2019.
This was after a group of disgruntled residents had approached Mashaba to ask for help after they were unhappy with the city’s relocation process from the wetland on which they built their shacks.
On Monday, Mashaba interacted with some of the flood victims at the Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement, reassuring them that his party will do everything in its power to get them justice by forcing the government to keep its promise of relocation.
He said “The only way we are going to get the attention of this government is to use the legal route. That is the only option we have”.
He also discouraged community members from violent protests by burning down hospitals, clinics and schools.
He said ActionSA will foot the legal bills likely to be incurred in pursuit of a civil case against the government.
Griffiths further said many flood victims were moved to formal settlements but there were still disagreements with other beneficiaries regarding the resettlement venue and the number of those to be relocated.
He took aim at ActionSA, saying it was desperate to stay relevant for the upcoming local elections.
According to him, the party had so far criss-crossed the municipality, promising to give legal assistance to victimised people “but are yet to actually take the City to court on any matter”.
Griffiths also said “They have threatened to take us to court over the Hammanskraal children who drowned in trenches last year and to this day not a single piece of paper has been served to the City. Legal action costs a lot of money, they really need to stop playing games with people’s lives and politicising everything on issues that the City is dealing with. They don’t mind making statements like they are trying to get us to hand them this and that document but in actual fact those documents are public information and the matters were dealt with in court. Anyone can find such documents”.
Community representative, December Matlala, apportioned blame on the municipality for failing to relocate all the affected flood victims.
He said only 158 people, who were sheltered in community centres and a church, were relocated to date.
Matlala added that “We want to take the City of Tshwane to court because this has been a long-standing matter with Tshwane taking us from pillar to post”.