Gugulethu residents fight over future of Tambo Square land

2017-03-03 12:13
Some Tambo Square Informal Settlement residents dismantled their shacks to make way for upgrades, but work was stopped by protests from neighbouring residents. (Mandla Mnyakama, GroundUp)

Some Tambo Square Informal Settlement residents dismantled their shacks to make way for upgrades, but work was stopped by protests from neighbouring residents. (Mandla Mnyakama, GroundUp)

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2017-03-02 09:59

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Cape Town – Residents in Gugulethu Section Four this week protested against the City of Cape Town’s plans for a piece of land in Tambo Square.

GroundUp reported that the NY3 section was blocked with burning tyres, rubbish, and rubble during protests on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Protesters told GroundUp they would make the area ungovernable if the city did not listen to their demands.

A large police contingent had been monitoring the situation.

The disgruntled Section Four residents (living in parallel streets NY78, 99, 101, 102 and 103) said they originally accommodated families fleeing the violence that decimated KTC in the 1980s on Tambo Square, between NY78 and NY3.

In 1998, these families were moved into RDP houses in Tambo Village near Manenberg, and new people arrived and set up shacks.

The city now wants to bring services for the Tambo shack dwellers.

Construction vehicles forced to leave

A number of people took down their shacks for work to begin. Section Four residents however protested when the city commenced work. They want a children’s play park, a communal facility for the elderly, a crèche, and a satellite police station on the land.

The protests forced construction vehicles to leave the site.

Section Four community leader Joyce Ngakwe said the shack dwellers did not own the land. They should benefit from the plot, she said.

At a meeting on February 14, councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli was told that residents wanted the development stopped.

"He promised to report back to us with a proper response after we handed over our documents and demands about the facilities we had envisaged for the land," she said.

"It shocked us to discover heavy-duty vehicles working on the land this week, while we were still waiting for Mamkeli’s response.

"It is our wish that Mayor Patricia De Lille should resolve the issue before it escalates further," said Ngakwe.

Residents 'very unfair'

One of the protesters, Muzi Mandulo, said all the previous councillors were aware of the matter.

Ward 41 councillor Mimi Manatha said it was a long-standing issue that a higher structure needed to deal with.

Zanethi Mithi, a long-time Tambo Square resident, said Section Four residents were being "very unfair".

"They live comfortably with flush toilets in their homes. We now also wish to do away with the bucket system toilets and enjoy the basic rights and privileges the development is all about."

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for informal settlements, Xanthea Limberg, said the development was part of efforts to improve living conditions for Tambo Square residents.

It had been characterised by intricate community dynamics since its inception. She said there had been in-depth talks with residents.

Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela met protesters on Wednesday. He promised to consult the city and report back on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  service delivery

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