Slow delivery leads to protest

2019-02-12 06:00

Backyard residents of Parkwood took to the streets on Thursday 7 February to vent their frustration at the ongoing impasse with stakeholders in the drawn-out fight for housing in the area.

Prince George Drive was blocked off, and eventually closed off between Dick Burton Avenue and Victoria Road, due to burning tyres and debris in the middle of the road.

Paul Phillips, convenor of the Voice of Parkwood, said the backyarders held a meeting on Wednesday 6 February to discuss the way forward, with the initial idea to picket, but he cited the community’s continued frustration with the lack of work being done after engaging with the City of Cape Town as well as the provincial Department of Human Settlements.

“The reason for this morning’s (Thursday 7 February) protest was because of the slow pace of progress in terms of the promised building of houses for the people (“Peaceful after protests”, People’s Post, 29 May 2018). Secondly, there is an issue with government wanting to dictate the pace and dictate the process, and the concern was that the steering committee which is there is merely a formality.

“Government have preconceived plans, because when they do meet everything is pre-planned and pre-scheduled. The steering committee is mostly there for window dressing.

“The community also disagrees [with] and rejects the concept of integration. They don’t want an integrated housing development, but a ward development, which was promised by the MEC,” Phillips said. Empty promises

He said residents feel aggrieved that the promises made to them are not being kept.

“They want a ward development, not an integrated [development] where they have more than three wards with an incorporated steering committee.

“The main demand is the slow pace. The process is dragging. A lot of red tape. A lot of meetings. Very little feedback and the frustration levels are high, because the pot is boiling. I was at the meeting (last night).

“The original idea was to picket this morning, but I understand that people’s emotions are running high, and they have reached the end of their rope in terms of waiting on government.

“People want to see some movement on the open land which has been identified for development. They want to see surveying being done. They want to see activity in those spaces, but nothing is happening currently, so they think that government has been taking them for a ride,” said Phillips.

Protestors dispersed later that morning, resulting in the reopening of Prince George Drive. “We spoke to a lot of the protestors to disperse, but hopefully no more protests will happen [again],” Phillips said.

The City of Cape Town have yet to respond to requests at the time of People’s Post going to print.

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