RDP houses in Constantia if I were mayor - Ehrenreich
Tammy Petersen, News24
Cape Town - If Tony Ehrenreich was the mayor of Cape Town, there would be RDP houses in the wealthy suburb of Constantia.
"The exclusivity the people living in that area enjoy would be ended," he said.
"In my view, the dreams of a man in Delft are no different to the dreams of the guy in Constantia, in respect of what they want for their family. I would integrate those communities and not perpetuate those class divides which were a feature of apartheid."
Ehrenreich, who ran for mayor as the ANC candidate in 2011 but lost to the DA, believes the primary responsibility of government is to take care of the marginalised and poor.
"The wealthy can survive. They don’t need our hospitals, police service or schools. Their kids are in private schools, they have ADT [security] and they go to private hospitals.
"The government must realise it’s their primary job to deal with the social injury in society that was inherited from apartheid. That’s the message I try and bring over in council."
The DA, Ehrenreich argued, "perpetuates those inequalities that we inherited".
He is in no way jealous of those who live in the leafy suburbs, he insists.
"I also have the trappings of wealth that they have. Potentially I could live the same life that they do. But I choose not to. I give my money away. I expose their greed and the greed of the system."
The salary he earns as a councillor and a large amount of his earnings as Cosatu provincial secretary is handed to a board of four people who distribute the money to worthy causes.
Ehrenreich is allocated an amount not greater than an artisan’s salary for his expenses.
He said he believes many of the problems in the country is because "too many people are blinded by high salaries and forget their obligation to serve our people".
"A guy that digs a trench all day and sweats blood and tears deserves as decent a salary as the guy who sits in the office the whole day. I am not saying everyone is equally skilled, but the wage gap that exists that we inherited from apartheid can’t continue in a democratic South Africa."
He points out that he lives in a flat he built above the garage of the house he grew up in in Uitsig, while his father lives in the main house.
And he doesn’t intend to move to the leafier side of the city.
"Our conditions shape our consciousness and the conditions in which I grew up gave me my view of the world. I believe in the sense of community in areas like Uitsig. I like living in my street, knowing my neighbours and talking to them. You don’t have that in the suburbs where your fence is so high you can’t see anyone.
"I wouldn’t change living there for the world. I don’t need more than I have right now. I don’t need to look kwaai [cool] in other people’s eyes."