Mixed emotions over protests

2019-08-27 06:00
Hundreds of Ocean View backyarders meet at Ocean View Secondary School to discuss the way forward, following the chaotic protests on Thursday 8 August.PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Hundreds of Ocean View backyarders meet at Ocean View Secondary School to discuss the way forward, following the chaotic protests on Thursday 8 August.PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

As hundreds of backyarders of Ocean View chanted “genoeg is genoeg” in the hall of Ocean View Secondary School on Tuesday 20 August, some residents of the area remained concerned about their intentions and the outcomes of their actions during protests.

Gatvol Capetonian, a group headed by Fadiel Adams, held an organised strike for housing on Friday 9 August. It was the group’s actions the day before, however, that made headlines due to the commotion its members caused in Ocean View.

“We had a very successful day on 8 August. It is because of Ocean View that the City now knows that people are not satisfied,” said Adams at the backyarders meeting last Tuesday.

“We are tired of meeting. Now, we need time frames and they (the City of Cape Town) must know that we are not scared of them,” he continued, adding that the next meeting of backyarders would take place on Thursday 29 August at the Castle of Good Hope.

The feeling of accomplishment was not shared throughout the community, though. A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had to endure the harrowing sound of rubber bullets hitting the walls of her home during protests for housing on multiple occasions.

“A few years ago, the same thing happened. They were all stationed near Imhoff farm, and then, too, we had rubber bullets shot at our walls. There were even dogs running through our properties,” she said.

According to the resident, who has lived in the house for 45 years, and her parents for much longer – the last protest was intended to be peaceful.

“Those who wanted to participate in the protest are educated and employed, and all want to see a change in Ocean View for the betterment of our children.”

But, she said, a criminal element in the community took over the demonstration.

“We participated in the protest in the hope that our voices would fall on the right ears. It went so pear-shaped that all of us who wanted to take part did not participate.

“It started with thugs and ended off with thugs and kids. It’s embarrassing that kids are taking this forward.”

A backyard resident who did participate, Noelle Satarin, agreed that the protest had intended to send a message, not to incite violence.

“We were having a peaceful protest. We were peacefully burning a tyre, protesting peacefully and then the cops started with the gas.

“They started shooting rubber bullets at people. The violence happened as a reaction to the actions of the police,” she explained.

Satarin lives in the backyard of her parents and will be protesting again at the next meeting (Thursday 29 August) for housing and the improvement of conditions.

She said her reasons for protesting were the conditions she had to live under and the rent that was being demanded.

“They put off the electricity when you have little disputes. Your children can’t make a noise and there are arguments all the time,” Satarin said.

The children also didn’t have a space to study, she said.

“Even though they are our parents, they expect us to spread our wings and to go out on our own. But we in the coloured community are always limited.

“We don’t get jobs. We have lots of graduates and matriculants, but we are not given the chance.”

The anonymous Ocean View resident agreed: “We have a high unemployment rate and it’s challenging for them. Our government has failed us. This is the outcome.”

Adams seeks to have role-players and representatives from government departments present at the next meeting of backyarders to address the housing issues.

“We are now going to push for the minister to intervene in what’s going on here. This stalling tactic is not going to work anymore.

“We want the prime land that our people were thrown off. It took them minutes to make the decision, hours to draw up the paperwork and days to evict us – we want the same efficiency on our return,” he said.

V We want to know your opinion on the housing problem experienced in Cape Town. Email your letter to racine.edwardes@media24.com to have your say.


Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.