Building’s new look

2019-03-05 06:01

A decision by the City of Cape Town to declare the ‘Irene Grootboom House’, in Darling Street, “unsafe” has done very little to deter its 25 occupants.

Instead, the decision has inspired activists from the Reclaim the City - a movement of tenants and workers campaigning to stop displacement from well-located areas to fight on and work hard for the occupants.

On Saturday 9 February the activists went on a cleaning spree of the building in a quest to make it safe for residence.

For years, the building - situated not far from the Castle of Good Hope - has been left to gather mould and has been throug harsh weather conditions.

The structure is apparently owned by the Department of Transport and Public Works and for some homeless people it has been their home for more almost 30 years.

Ntombi Sambu, movement’s supporter says they are planning to repair broken windows and doors.

They will also plaster and paint the walls once the building has been assessed by an architect.

However, for the renovations to begin, Reclaim the City needs funding to buy material.

Sambu said no one has come forward yet to donate anything, but people have promised to volunteer their time to help.

“We cannot expect redistribution of public land if national government cannot even manage its existing buildings,” says Sambu.

“Residents’ calls for support have not been heard, so we are fixing it up ourselves to make it a safe space to live and meet,” she says.

In a series of statements City’s, mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the City is committed to ensuring that enough houses are provided for needy people. He said in the statements that the City is assessing land in locations nearer to the CBD.

“We continue to assess City-owned land, including in and near the Cape Town CBD, among others, to determine whether some of these properties could be developed for housing opportunities – be it for transitional, affordable, social housing, or State-subsidised Breaking New Ground housing,” he explained in the statement.

Meanwhile, national minister for human settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo and his provincial counterpart Bonginkosi Madikizela launched the R280m Goodwood Station Social Housing Development last week. The development is expected to deliver over 1 050 rental housing units.

V For more information contact Ntombi Sambu on 071 840 0955.

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