Cape Town – Communities on the Cape Flats don’t believe the government is acting in their best interest, says Roegshanda Pascoe. “That’s why people are asking me to stand as an independent candidate for Parliament in the next elections. But I don’t want to be an enabler of our people’s weaknesses.”
The Manenberg activist and trauma counsellor told IOL on Thursday: “People are still too preoccupied with race and colour and the handout culture too prevalent. People must stop voting according to what happened in the past and vote for our children’s future.
“Now is the time to change all the wrongs into positives for our generations to come. We are in a mess in South Africa. If our people are not going to open their eyes and unite as humanity, stopping the infighting along the lines of race and colour, what change would we have brought about since 1994?
“The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown this government is intent on dictating to instead of listening to the people. It knows exactly how to manipulate our people’s emotions and weaknesses.
“Yet people keep on saying we are the government. Then why are we allowing this government to keep on dictating to us, but on the other hand bragging so much that we brought about the downfall of apartheid?
“It doesn’t make sense that we are allowing this government to pull us by the nose, dictate to us what should happen, how we should be treated and how we must react.
“The poor are getting poorer and the corruption has increased during Covid-19. So who is going to change it around?
“At the moment we are a divided nation fighting among each other. Even if you count yourselves as the direct descendants and those that have been marginalised in the country, the best thing to do is to act as a collective among all race groups. The power lies with us and we must be very clear in our demands with the government.
“If I were to stand for Parliament, it would be the people standing with me, taking ownership of our country, our province, and saying this is what we want. They will dictate to me.
“I will serve them and that is how our government should serve. It should see the plight of our people, know where it is coming from, understand it and act on it.
“The government is making loans worth billions from the IMF and who is going to be paying for these loans and what will the ultimate cost be? This money won’t be spent in the communities that need it most. They talk about ‘flattening the curve’ when it comes to Covid-19, but which curve are they flattening when it comes to other issues?”
Amid the cries of “coloured people being marginalised” and the Black Lives Matter movement, Pascoe said she has received flak for saying “all lives matter”.
“I follow these racial protests in and outside the country, with people fighting for recognition. But I think we are way beyond that point. Due to colonisation and apartheid, nobody can claim to be the original people, the original migration; they have taken that away. A lot of migration has taken place over the years.
“I come from a very diverse and rich family history and we also had racial infighting. To claim as Fadiel Adams (who protested in Cape Town on Monday under the banner of Gatvol Capetonian and the Cape Coloured Congress) did that coloureds are being marginalised, I think people are missing the point. All of us are living in our own bubble.
“To me, it is not about colour and we must change that narrative because without us knowing, we are still allowing our oppressor to divide us as human beings.
“The Manenbergs and other disadvantaged communities must have preference when it comes to development, to ensure greater parity between communities in South Africa. I have always said that it’s your environment that determines your thinking and how you move forward.
“We will only succeed if we break the cycle that was forced upon us, without us asking and having a say in it. We do not break it when we claim colour, only when laying claim to our common humanity and the fact that we are all equal. That is the starting point to bring about change.
“If we keep on acting the way we are, we are not going to be dealing with the issues that require our utmost attention, ending up burying many more of our children and women, for example. Who in their right mind shoots a 3-year-old child in the head, rapes a child and keeps on abusing women.
“People have lost faith not only in the government but also in the police and the justice system. People can’t keep living in false hope amid the increasing joblessness; it’s time for the people to govern.”