The Democratic Alliance has denied that Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba is a "loose cannon", instead coming to his defence with regards to his latest controversial statements on sanitary towels and foreign nationals.
Mashaba came under fire on Twitter, as well as from the ANC, after he suggested that the distribution of sanitary pads to Grade R learners at schools made children "focus on sex". This was after Environmental Affairs Minister Nomvula Mokonyane distributed the products at Mandosi Combined School.
This for me this is not about laziness, but deliberate destroying the future of our youth. You get kids to focus on sex, instead of Education https://t.co/QmGNHVCY2v-- Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) January 11, 2019
Mashaba has also come under fire on several occasions for statements he has made about foreign nationals, which have been criticised for being xenophobic.
But DA federal chairperson Athol Trollip said Mashaba had done great things, "and they say a tallest tree collect the most wind".
He said what Mashaba had meant in his tweets was that learning materials were a priority for schoolchildren, and not sanitary pads.
"There is a picture today of Mokonyane giving pads to young girls and boys. That is typical of ANC delivery. The ANC delivers what they think you need and not what you need. Clearly Grade R learners and boys do not need sanitary pads. They need shoes, textbooks, bags and pens and learner support materials.
"What Mashaba was basically saying was that, instead of coming to schools and giving young children pads, give them what they need," Trollip said.
In response to Mashaba's tweet, Mokonyane tweeted that the sanitary towels weren't meant for the Grade R children.
Lakelani! Mamelani! Reetsang! Listen!We were at a school called Mandosi. It's a combined school.The sanitary towels are for deserving girls! The Vodacom goodies are for GradeR and lower primary kiddies. Go on armchair critics and passionate haters of Nomvula. Ikhonkotha ehambayo! pic.twitter.com/SeITzBZXAv-- Nomvula Mokonyane (@MamaAction_RSA) January 9, 2019
Trollip also dismissed accusations that some of Mashaba's statements on foreign nationals promoted xenophobia, and that the party had failed to rein him in.
Trollip was speaking to News24 during his visit to Limpopo on Thursday to kickstart the party's election campaign, which will focus mainly on porous borders, rural crime and poverty, and corruption.
Addressing the media in Polokwane, he said the farming community was already marginalised and vulnerable to crime and poverty. This was worsened by the collapse of the rural economy in provinces such as Limpopo.
"We believe the relationship between a farmer and farmworker has been destroyed inadvertently. Some pieces of legislations such as the land tenure rights and minimum wage are very good, but have some unintended consequences.
"For example, the government does not give recognition to an employer who feeds the employees. We also have a situation in which we have people who look after sheep, but have never tasted mutton, people who milk cattle but never drink milk, and people who look after beef animals but have never seen beef on their plate," he said.
Trollip also described border posts in the province as "the most porous in the country". He said sovereign security was a critical issue for the safety of the people in the country, and also for bio-safety.
"Recently, we saw the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, which has a devastating consequence on the meat producers.
"Animals come and go through our borders as they please, people come and go as they please and they have illegal trade and they smuggle stuff across our borders. They come here undocumented and they have access to our state services. The greatest challenge to our country is the porous borders."
DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle, who recently had an oversight visit to the border posts said none of them, except the Beit Bridge in Musina, had scanners which means "anything can pass through".