Reclaim the City occupies two buildings in Cape Town

2017-03-27 07:17
Activists have been campaigning for affordable housing in the City Bowl and Sea Point for low-income families. (Mary-Anne Gontsana, GroundUp)

Activists have been campaigning for affordable housing in the City Bowl and Sea Point for low-income families. (Mary-Anne Gontsana, GroundUp)

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Cape Town – Activists from Reclaim the City have occupied two provincial government buildings since Friday in the hope of pressuring authorities to develop affordable inner city accommodation in Cape Town.

This follows an announcement by the Western Cape provincial government on Wednesday that the Tafelberg School property in Sea Point would be sold to fund the refurbishment of governmental offices in Dorp Street.

In a statement, Reclaim the City said activists occupied the Woodstock Hospital and the Helen Bowden Nurses Home.

“To date, we have demonstrated peacefully using every lawful tactic but Province has ignored us,” the statement reads. 

“[The] province, like the colonial and apartheid governments before it, has ensured that the beneficiaries of racial discrimination, who are mostly white people, continue to access, own and occupy our well-located public land.”

READ: Tafelberg site not for affordable housing – WCape govt

The Reclaim the City demands include that the Tafelberg School property not be sold. They ask that the state expropriate private land which people are already living on, citing the Marikana informal settlement where people have occupied private land as an example.

Furthermore, the activists demanded that the private sector be regulated by forcing them to pay the relocation costs of evictees. They ask that no additional properties in District Six be sold to private developers.

They also ask that the city stop the construction of temporary transitional zones such as Wolwerivier. A temporary transitional zone is emergency housing the City of Cape Town provides to people evicted from land elsewhere. 

READ: Wolwerivier emergency settlement area chosen on merit – City of Cape Town

In a statement on Wednesday, the provincial government said it was considering developing the two occupied properties for affordable housing. 

But, the activists demanded that the province commit to this development and provide a timeline of development.  

At a Reclaim the City meeting in Sea Point on Thursday, activist Emile Engel said the announcement by the province to develop the Woodstock Hospital and the Helen Bowden Nurses Home was not concrete. 

READ: Reclaim the City vows to fight Tafelberg sale

“People will tender for it [the properties] and then there will be a condition attached for affordable housing,” he told the audience. 

“Unfortunately there’s no detail about what that condition will entail. How many units will it be? Will it be 10 units; will it be five units? And we don’t imagine that it will be much.”

A separate picket by Reclaim the City’s Sea Point chapter was expected to start on Monday at the Tafelberg school property to protest against its sale. 

Reclaim the City is a subsidiary of the nonprofit organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  land  |  service delivery

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