As the vibrant colours of political parties begin to line our streets, one party is saying that it wants to be known for its action and not for making empty promises. The Patriotic Alliance (PA), which originated in 2013 with the collaboration of Gayton Mckenzie and Kenny Kunene, today speaks to issues faced by the coloured community of the Western Cape.
Speaking to VOC on the weekly Friday discussion in the lead up the elections, member of the Provincial Executive Committee of the Patriotic Alliance, Ricardo Sedres explains that the amalgamation of the small parties into the PA will go down in history as a symbolic show of unity and a great achievement.
He says that while the party has morphed over the years, it continues to be vested in making positive changes within South Africa, but particularly within the “marginalized” coloured communities
“We cannot be dividing the coloured communities, then speak for the coloured community. We brought all the parties together, so there is no Kunene, there is only Gayton Mckenzie.”
“[Since] the Western Cape is a majority coloured province, we are not being racist, we are saying that we need to have a voice for our coloured people.”
He further noted that the PA does not describe or view itself as a “gangster party”, but is instead a voice for the people.
What are the PA’s priorities?
Sedres explains that the party’s main focus is improving service delivery for the coloured community of the Western Cape.
He says that while many families have lived in council houses for generations, they do not own the property, despite years of paying rent. Therefore, if granted the necessary votes, he affirms that the party will give long-term residents the deeds to the properties.
“It’s by time that these flats are given to our people,” Sedres continued.
Sedres confirmed that a family, which was evicted from an apartment block in Eeste River, are currently residing on the street for more than a month.
He added that party is not assisting with “any” eviction notice; instead it is working to assist those who have resided in council property for years, since the municipality requires proof of at least ten years occupation.
In addition to the continued rental charges on council homes, Sedres says that the high cost of rates, taxes, and maintenance charges is unacceptable.
To assist residents who are unable to afford the rising costs of housing, the PA is proposing that the City give the rental properties to long term residents at maintenance levy.
Sedres says that despite high levels of criminal activity within the Cape Flats, no adequate resources are made available to protect and assist residents.
“Start evicting the gang bosses and drug merchants, if we can only do that I think we will have a better society…at the moment there is not law and order, when we speak to the mayor then she says it’s a national problem,” he asserts.
In light of numerous corruption reports, the PA has pledged to push for life sentences for those found guilty of corruption in government and intends to make random integrity testing mandatory for all public servants, in particular the police.
The party views state funding for developing and changing the ownership patterns of the fishing industry, in favour of traditional coastal communities, as one of its key interests.
In response to the rising costs of bank charges, the party proposes the establishment of state-owned banks.
The PA also intends to focus on a range of socio-economic issues, including; education, prison reform, healthcare, wide-scale industrialisation and unemployment.
The most evident change tabled by the party is the suggestion that the model of the Black economic Empowerment be changed to benefit all registered voters from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
Why do people vote for the DA in Western Cape?
Sedres explains that Western Cape residents vote for the Democratic Alliance (DA) because of the party’s history with the National Party (NP) and the Independent Democrats (ID) and the subsequent merge with the Democratic Party (DP).
Though the merge officially took place, he says that the DP’s name continues to be registered.
“If something happens in the DA they will all go back to the DP – [So] they must not fool the voters,” he explains.
Sedres asserts that since the Western Cape is the only ‘home’ for the coloured community of South Africa, they deserve adequate representation – not the DA.
He adds that corruption has further depleted the resources available to the coloured people.
“It is time that the coloured people stand up and unite. We are first on the unemployment list and we don’t get housing opportunities, but the people from the Eastern Cape come here and get houses before our people. We are saying that enough is enough – we are standing for our people!”
What role is there for non-coloured citizens within the PA?
Sedres affirmed that while the party seeks to focus on implementing positive changes within coloured communities, he says that the party is home to members of all ethnicities and religions.
In addition he says that the PA will seek to address issues faced by women and children, and will adopt a bottom-up approach in finding viable solutions.
“This is going to be an historic moment for the coloured community. We want to be bring-about change and we want to equip our communities, since we need to create permanent employment for our people,” Sedres concluded.