The current Council was democratically elected with the Local Government Elections in November 2021. The DA has the overwhelming majority in council, meaning that the majority of the electorate in Overstrand expressed their trust in the party to lead and govern the municipality. The protests over the last two days are nothing but a scapegoat for political shenanigans by opportunistic individuals in an effort to destabilise governance and create chaos for their own benefit. One particular individual, by the name of Louis Gardiner, brandishing himself as a chief with links to the Land Party, has been publicly threatening the Mayor on several occasions that she must be taken out and that he will make the Overstrand ungovernable. Of particular concern is his references to a certain race group and apartheid which could lead to further racial intolerance, which should be avoided at all costs.
The latest spate of protests, supposedly triggered after a public meeting in Hawston on Wednesday, 2 August 2023, is testament to this threat. In this case the Mayor was summoned to a public meeting, and should she not come a threat was made that the R43 will be closed at Hawston. What happened was that the Mayor did attend the abovementioned meeting, left after about one and a half hours, after meeting became rowdy, and still did they close the R43 with burning tyres and other obstacles. This only goes to show that this person has no integrity and cannot be trusted, in fact he should be viewed as a downright menace to society. The only reason why his name is actually mentioned in this statement is to expose him as the opportunist that he is, first asking the Mayor for a job and when rightfully informed that she does not dish out jobs, started with his campaign against her.
What is of further concern is the perceived criminal undertone to these protests. Children are being used as so-called cannon fodder, to throw stones and petrol bombs at motorists and the SAPS on the R43. This modus operandi reminds of the criminals using the youth to carry out illegal activities knowing that they are too young to be prosecuted but also that the SAPS would treat them differently than adults. It was also noted that during the protests, with all of the law enforcement resources focused on returning public order, increased poaching activities were reported. Hence, the question can be rightfully asked, were these protests really about service delivery, or was it instigated to deflect the law enforcers from the illegal poaching?
It is a pity that the Land Party is now becoming involved in these violent protests, as they have had a number of protests over the last two years and all of them were peaceful. However, with the upcoming elections next year, it is not surprising that they would want to make use of any opportunity to garner support. This could, however, blow up in their faces, being linked to the abovementioned unscrupulous individual, who will drop them like a hot potato, should a better opportunity arise. In this case it was interesting to observe the interaction of said individual and known members of the Patriotic Alliance at the public meeting.
This Council, under the leadership of Mayor Rabie, fiercely believes that there are no no-go areas in Overstrand hence, public order will be returned. Council has also worked tirelessly to bring services to all of its residents and even amended its Indigent Policy at the July 2023 council meeting to provide additional support to the most vulnerable households, meaning that many more households can be assisted with indigent grant support. However, it is a fact that there will be increases in the individual accounts, as had always been the case at the start of every financial year. This is no reason for damaging public infrastructure and compromising the safety of law-abiding citizens.
The public is once again assured of Council’s commitment to excellent service delivery within an Overstrand 4 All.