Even before President Obama starts his tour of South Africa, there is drama. The African National Congress (ANC) claims the City of Cape Town doesn’t care about the poor and the Obamas shouldn’t accept Cape Town’s Freedom of the City award on that basis. Well, the Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane shot back saying the ANC’s claims are “baseless.”
On Tuesday morning the Cape Times quoted the African National Congress saying that US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle should not accept Cape Town’s Freedom of the City award.
“To us this is nothing other than a diversion and I think it would be a pity if Obama accepted the award from a city that doesn’t care about the poorest of the poor,” ANC Western Cape secretary Songezo Mjongile told the newspaper.
Maimane said the award would be presented to Obama and his wife during their three-day visit to the African continent at the end of June and beginning of July.
“The facts show that the DA-led city of Cape Town delivers better quality services to more poor people than any other metro in South Africa. The city of Cape Town offers the most comprehensive and generous package of free basic services to indigent residents of any metro in the country. This is a fact.”
He said in the past financial year the city spent 57 percent of its R18 billion budget on service delivery to poor residents.
Sounds like the ANC is in a state of panic. I guess some members in the South African government think they can manipulate President Obama and create an ugly trip for him. In case the ANC hasn’t noticed, the rand has fallen to its lowest level in four years under Jacob Zuma. The economic woes facing the country as a whole should be a much more pressing issue to the ANC than the Obamas accepting an award.