Helen Zille believes she has enough evidence to show the "poo war" is a campaign to make Cape Town ungovernable in the run-up to the 2014 elections.
Armed with video footage and photographs, Zille and her team gave a power-point presentation and identified 11 members of the ANC Youth League and the ANC who allegedly orchestrate the spate of foul-smelling faeces attacks.
Among these is the well known former ANC councillor Andile Lili, who has been suspended, and ANC proportional councillor Loyiso Nkohla. The dumping of human faeces in and around the Democratic Alliance-led city has not let up in past months.
The footage showed how a small team of ringleaders carry out the attacks each time. Apart from being dumped on the Western Cape provincial legislature steps in Wale Street and at the Cape Town International Airport, container loads of human faeces have also been thrown on the N2 highway.
In one instance, Zille showed footage of containers being hauled over the freeway into oncoming traffic, which narrowly missed causing an accident. "One aspect of this campaign involves faeces attacks in various locations, including regularly blocking a major highway and access to the airport," said Zille. "Ironcially these incidents have only highlighted the good delivery that the City of Cape Town is rolling out to communities in need, because the attackers have used the human waste contents of portable flush toilets after breaking their seals."
The containers were stolen from outside resident's homes, where they are placed to be collected for emptying and cleaning. "The city has been making the portable flush toilets available to households who want them to eliminate the last remnants of the bucket system in our informal settlements – a project unequalled in the whole country," said Zille.
"This spate of faeces attacks is clearly well-co-ordinated and politically motivated, forming part of the ANC's Youth League's self-declared and oft-repeated "ungovernability campaign". The Premier said the worn-out refrain of the ANC and the ANC Youth Leath was that it had no culpability in the ungovernability tactics. "Some of the ringleaders themselves have feigned this disingenuous distance from their political organisations when proudly declaring their activites to the media," she said.
However, identified members of the ANC and ANC Youth League have perpetrated criminal and disruptive actions and publicly confessed to them, she said. "The assumption of impunity results partly from the lack of action taken against ANC councillors involved in rioting, and well known cases of rioting and public violence, in which no prosecution was bought," said Zille."
The information gathered by the Democratic Alliance has been handed to the South African Police Service for further investigation. The ANC's Western Cape spokesperson Cobus Grobler told the Mail & Guardian there was no orchestrated attempt by its members to render Cape Town ungovernable. Instead, the problem that had been highlighted during protests was the shameful sanitation problem in the Western Cape, he said.
Both Lili and Nkohla are currently undergoing disciplinary charges by the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute for dumping human faeces at the provincial legislature and at Cape Town International Airport. They also face criminal charges after they were arrested by police during the attacks. Zille said she recognised that not every public demonstration that occurs in Cape Town is part of the ungovernability campaign. "Both the city and province recognise that there are genuine grievances in communities," she said.
"Although service delivery in this province is the best in South Africa - in spite of almost 30% population growth between censuses – we do not claim that it is a perfect record and we are sensitive to the frustrations of people living in conditions of poverty. We are doing our best to address these problems, of which portable flush toilets are a part in places where it is impossible to lay underground pipes."
However, she said the human faeces attacks posed a significant threat to public order and health. "The attacks have been getting increasingly violent and more and more include stone-throwing at vehicles and innocent members of the public," said Zille. While Zille's press conference was going on in Wale Street, Metro police vehicles had cordoned off part of the street in anticipation a march on the provincial legislature by the ANC Women's Leagure and other organisations.
The National Women's March was inspired by hundreds of years of women's struggles, and politics seemed to be top of the agenda. The Western Cape province was targeted as it was described as "the last bastion of male supremacy, entrenching and promoting the triple oppression of women in gender, race and class terms" by the organisers.
Demands made to the Western Cape provincial government included gender parity and equal participation by women in the leadership and decision making structures of the social, economic and political life of the province. Another demand was the enforcement of adequate protection for all women and children against the racial and gender-based violence.
Among those taking part in the march was ANC Women's League president Angie Motshekga, who led women who had come from all over the country to the provincial legislature, as a culmination of the ANC's celebration of Women's Month.
Also seen in the crowd were ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte and the ever-vocal ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman. While the icy wind and rain did not dampen the spirit of the gathering, some marchers were seen shopping for umbrellas in the city centre.