The organisers of the annual Cape Town Pride event have denied claims that the event has gradually “turned into a party political platform for the Democratic Alliance (DA)”.
After being approached by Cape Argus, ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko said that “John [Steenhuisen] is not a known champion of LGBTIAQ+ rights so his attempt at turning the parade into a DA political rally is in bad taste and speaks of the party that is looking for any organised grouping to make itself relevant.”
The paper also spoke to Good Party general secretary Brett Herron, who said that “the DA leadership should also know better than to hijack an event as if they are the sole defenders of our constitutional rights. We are entitled to expect they would exercise appropriate discretion. Instead, they were just opportunistic.”
According to MambaOnline, the criticism however was first voiced on Facebook by a user named Jacqui Benson. Following the event, she wrote that “it appears CT Pride is not apolitical as an organisation, which is problematic for the community.” Other users allegedly also commented “that Cape Town Pride is more favourably inclined to allow the DA to participate in the event”.
In a response to questions from MambaOnline, Cape Town Pride Director Matthew Van As stated that the DA’s visibility at Pride was nothing new as “the DA has always had a presence at Pride to show their support of the LGBTIQ+ community.”
Van As further explained that the public speech given by Steenhuizen was appropriate because he represents the governing party in Cape Town.
“All political parties were given the option to participate in the parade. The ANC and The Good Party were both present during the parade,” added.
Finally, when asked if it is appropriate to have a political party be involved as an official paid sponsor of a supposed party-apolitical Pride event, Van As said that Pride does not support any one political party.
“What our members and organisers’ affiliations are to political parties within their private lives is just that, private. We believe that every organisation has the right to participate as long as it is on a fair and equal footing.”