Jacobs’s hunger strike ‘successful’

2018-07-17 06:00
Roscoe Jacobs

Roscoe Jacobs

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Hout Bay community activist Roscoe Jacobs says the youth must lead community struggles to create the kind of environment they want to live in.

He was expressing himself after his “successful hunger strike” that lasted for seven days following the failure of the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa to hear his plea for a meeting.

In the open letter he sent to the president, he stated: “Mr President, you have until Saturday 30 June to respond and set up a meeting date. If you fail to do so I will go on a hunger strike until you heed my call and help me make Hout Bay an integrated community in which security and comfort is not for the rich and whites alone. I am prepared to die for access to land, my life is in your hands as is the future of my community.”

After days of sacrifice and daring the winter cold outside the Sports Centre in an old building, the office of the presidency met with him to discuss his concerns.

According to his statement, he met with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s political advisor Steyn Speed.

The meeting took place at the ANC Parliamentary Constituency Office in Hout Bay on Saturday 7 July at 13:30.

Also in attendance were Dr Olive Shisana from the Presidency and Natasha Meter who was invited along by Jacobs.

Among his concerns were the issues of integration in Hout Bay, and the need for security and comfort for everyone.

He says: “We need integration in Hout Bay as our community currently still resembles the apartheid-style town planning. This can and must be eradicated by building houses and having such projects in the Centre of Hout Bay where integration is promoted but more importantly implemented.

“Our biggest challenge as poor working class people is accessing land for decent housing. As the Black majority we are on less than 5% of the land in this beautiful bay.”

Jacobs says the president’s advisors recognised the urgency and have agreed to come back within two weeks with a response from Ramaphosa and his office in relation to his concerns.

“So I agreed that we would meet in two weeks as there is no quick fix but rather an opportunity to making the delivery of housing more efficient and effective.

“I am thankful that my call to action has been heard. I have informed them of my concerns and my suggestions of how these can be addressed.”

He says he was overwhelmed by the support shown by the people of Hout Bay and the broader Cape Town.

“I even received messages of support from KZN and elsewhere in our country. It has humbled me and also allowed me to reflect.”

Jacobs says he decided to opt for a peaceful protest rather than public violent protest as violence breeds violence.

He says his life is the only valuable asset he could sacrifice for the betterment of his community.

However, he confesses the strike was not easy for him and it resulted in him losing 10kg.

He says he only consumed water, tea and coffee.

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