City of Cape Town says 'publicity' protests over land cause development delays

2019-05-02 22:11
Housing activists build a wall on a Green Point bowling green on Workers’ Day. (Peter Luhanga, GroundUp)

Housing activists build a wall on a Green Point bowling green on Workers’ Day. (Peter Luhanga, GroundUp)

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"Land invasions" for publicity can delay the lawful progress of the City of Cape Town's housing plans, the municipality stated after the beginnings of a house were built at Green Point bowling club on Workers' Day. 

"When land is invaded, or when attempts are made to occupy land illegally, or when damaging publicity tricks are played on members of the public, we move backwards rather than forward," Councillor Malusi Booi said on Thursday.

Booi, who is member of the mayoral committee for human settlements, said that instead of establishing a "constructive partnership", various pressure groups continued to "act in bad faith, illegally and to the benefit of a few rather than to the majority".

Picketers from Reclaim the City affordable housing lobby group gathered on the bowling green on Wednesday and started mixing cement and laying the first bricks of a house on the ground of the prime property.

A spokesperson for Reclaim the City, Zacharia Mashele, told News24 the protest was related to Deputy Mayor's Ian Neilson's commitment last year to build inner city affordable housing, which those in need have yet to see.

Mashele said the group left on Wednesday but when Reclaim the City visited the site on Thursday morning, the partially built house had been reduced to a pile of rubble. He said police had not arrested anyone for the protest.

The group had also discovered, via Booi's statement, that the City signed a three-year lease with the crèche on a part of the site, he added.

Reclaim the City is adamant that workers deserve to be accommodated at an affordable price in the city, instead of living in suburbs on the outer fringes.

READ: Housing activists occupy Green Point bowling club

Booi believes the public is being misled about the City's work to change accommodation patterns within the confines of the law. 

Regarding Green Point bowling club, he said the lease for the crèche was renewed for three years while planning and legal processes were carried out for the "long-term", mixed-use accommodation project on a portion of the land. 

At the moment, the site in question houses a crèche which provides care services to the children of domestic workers, gardeners and other workers in the area. 

"The City will not just kick them off the site," said Booi.

"This is a long-term initiative. Illegal actions and publicity stunts help the organisations in question, but it sets back overall progress," he said.

"We ask our residents to stand with us."  

Read more on:    cape town  |  protests
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