AS families in Soshanguve, Pretoria, try to come to terms with the deaths of five children, the ANC and DA are playing the blame game and politicking.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga tried to visit the families but was not allowed to see them as he was attacked by a group.
Msimanga said the mob was being used to push a certain political agenda.
“It is deeply regrettable that, not for the first time, people who are considered community leaders chose to put their own narrow political interest before the genuine feelings of the families.
“It is now undeniably clear that the ANC in Tshwane has given up all pretence of caring about the people and is now using people’s pain to drive a political agenda.
“This type of behaviour is condemned in the strongest terms,” he said.
The ANC caucus in the city has however indicated it wouldn’t be drawn into the blame game despite its leader Mapiti Matsena having declared the tragedy as a result of poor service delivery.
He said since the DA took over the city there was a problem with maintenance of services, particularly in the townships.
“There is clear indication of lack of service delivery. The Mayor [Solly Msimanga] came here but you can understand the community is very angry. From our side, we are with the families and we are going to assist the families,” he said.
Spokesperson Lesego Makhubela said the party would not use the tragedy to score cheap political points despite the statements.
He said they won’t play the blame-game nor will they use the anger, anguish the families and their communities are feeling to drive sentiments against government or anyone.
He, however, followed in Matsena’s footsteps, accusing the DA-led administration of only focusing on affluent suburbs in terms of service delivery.
“One question which we have to confront immediately, however, is what the ANC has raised from August 2016 – a pattern of diversion of the city’s budget and the prioritization of services in the affluent suburbs of the city and the total neglect of townships by the current regime at the helm of the city’s administration.
“While the law enforcement agencies must determine precisely what happened in this case – and we cannot attach blame until we have the full picture – there can be no doubt that the city’s attitude towards black township and its sluggish response to service delivery challenges in townships needs to change if we are to build a united, prosperous and caring nation,” he said.
Seven children were playing under the Apollo light when the heavy metal ring which holds the high street lights fell on them.
Four of them died at the scene while two were rushed to the hospital, one died whilst there.
Makhubela said they would write a letter to the Premier of Gauteng David Makhura to assist in tracing the events that led to the tragedy.
“We must await the findings of the law enforcement authorities, which we have welcomed, and hope will establish exactly what happened not only on that tragic day but in many months before that day.
“This is important in the prevention of similar tragedies in the future.
“We shall do so, again, not to apportion blame but to provide leadership and political direction to our members and supporters who are calling for direction from their movement during these trying times.
“The investigation must also cover the city of Tshwane officials who came to do work on the lights following complaints from the ward councillor and members of the community and negligently left the high mast pole without resolving the problem and promising to come back and complete the task at hand,” he said.