Minister Lindiwe Sisulu condemns opportunists seeking to hijack plight of the poor


By: Staff Reporter

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has condemned opportunistic elements seeking to hijack the plight of people of Masiphumelele and Taiwan informal settlements whose shacks were destroyed by fires recently.

Minister Sisulu cited an incident that occurred on Tuesday (5 January 2020) in Taiwan in Khayelitsha outside Cape Town where a self-styled community leader who does not even reside in Taiwan secretly recorded the Minister while she was inspecting the damage in the area, resulting in a highly-charged verbal exchange between the Minister and the man, rumoured to be a member of the Social Justice Coalition. The secretly recorded video has since gone viral on social media. Minister Sisulu explained that the man displayed his rude behaviour after she warned him to refrain from secretly recording her. Instead of stopping, the man launched a vitriolic attack against the Minister.

Minister Sisulu condemned the man’s behavior, adding that “it is very despicable for anyone to exploit the plight of destitute people for self-aggrandisement”. Minister Sisulu said the man’s behaviour flies in the face of values of his organisation which claims “to work to advance the constitutional rights to life, dignity, equality, freedom and safety for all”.

“Why is he masquerading as a journalist distorting the truth, and whose interests is he advancing,” asked Minister Sisulu who added that “the man should be ashamed of himself”.

“In the first place, he had no reason to be at my meeting with affected residents of Taiwan because he does not even reside there, neither is he a journalist. He went there with the sole aim of disrupting my meeting by asking questions that were totally unrelated to the disaster in Taiwan. This is not only heartless but a shameless act of an individual hell-bent on hijacking the plight of the poor people for self-interest,” Minister Sisulu said.

She added that she will be opening a criminal case against the man and that she is in consultation with her lawyers who have advised her to take legal action against the man.

Minister Sisulu concluded: “I will never be deterred from serving the poorest of the poor and I will do everything in my power to see to it that no one hijacks their plight for self-serving motives. And no amount of disruptions by planted agent provocateurs and shameless attention seekers will stop us from helping affected community members of Masiphumelele, Taiwan and many others across the country affected by similar disasters.”