Ex MK operative promises to shake things up in the Cape Town
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From providing houses, ending evictions and poverty to providing affordable electricity, water and sanitation, the leader of the United Independent Movement (UIM) promises “radical change” if voted into power.
Delivering a speech after he was unveiled as mayoral candidate for the City, business mogul Neil De Beer said, with the current budget of R59 billion for five million citizens, the City should be spending more than R11 million on every citizen.
In June 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that independent candidates could stand for elections in all three spheres of government.
De Beer said, if elected as mayor, he would work to unify the city and help improve the lives of the poor.
"Every citizen should be getting R11 million worth of services. But this City has stopped some projects, claiming it does not have water. I would use 80% of that R59 billion budget on creating business for the people of Cape Town and create jobs," De Beer said.
He told supporters that he would also revive the textile industry "where women worked", support entrepreneurs, small-scale fishers and artisans.
The UIM leader, with "18 000 TikTok followers and 98 000 likes", said improving infrastructure and supporting the construction sector was also among his priorities.
As part of his mayoral campaign, De Beer said the movement would launch two major projects: namely the Direct Poverty Intervention (DPI) and the Cape Town Economic Empowerment Project (CEEP), to help fight poverty.
"When I take office as a mayor, I will identify poverty-stricken areas, and formulate an intervention budget and help those people," said De Beer.
The Economic Empowerment Project would help "revive, re-generate, re-employ, recharge and re-ignite the City's economy, '' the business mogul said.
De Beer also took a swipe at the eviction of citizens regarded as "illegal occupiers" and the confiscation of their clinic cards and IDs.
"That is treason and against humanity. A by-law cannot be above humanity and dignity," he said to the applause of the supporters.
The former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative also said the movement would work together with communities in trying to deal with crime and make communities safe again.
"Everyone knows where the drug houses are – we need to join hands in dealing with the scourge," De Beer told the meeting.
De Beer said the movement was already demonstrating its commitment to communities and what change it could bring as it provided food, houses and Jojo water tanks.
"These are services that the Democratic Alliance should be providing to people. But sadly, 27 years into our democracy, all some children know is that water comes from a bucket,“ De Beer said.
While the UIM would "outwork and outmove" the DA, De Beer said he was open to forming coalitions and working with other political parties.
"I'm not fighting the DA. I am not fighting (Premier) Alan Winde because he is going to have coffee with me as new mayor every Monday," De Beer said to the applause of the supporters.
Under the movement's leadership, all political parties in the City would be listened to and given a voice, said De Beer, who promised to "officially extending hand to them to unify the city and deliver for all".
De Beer also advocated reconciliation, saying under his leadership, he would help create a city like a "Jerusalem, where those of Christian and Muslim faiths co-existed.
He said even former president Nelson Mandela was willing to reconcile with the National Party after 27 years in prison and, therefore, the movement would follow in those footsteps.
Also high on his priority list was investing in infrastructure while up-skilling local people, providing houses to those who had been on the waiting list for decades, and working with communities to bring back safety and security.
Reacting to a comment made recently that another white man was trying to lead black communities, De Beer said the City and the province were previously led by "indigenous" leaders, but their delivery track record was dismal.
"This is not about race but about leadership. The city wants a working, honourable and righteous mayor, " De Beer said.
He urged voters not to be fooled by some political parties who made false promises.
"They walked up the streets and told us lies. Now they're coming back to sell you lies again," he added.