For the past five years, they have been struggling to occupy a plot of land in Linaria Street, despite having successfully leased the ground from the City of Cape Town.
Pastor Cecil Isaacs and his wife Zelda have been running a soup kitchen and feeding scheme from their home based church for the past five years, with their efforts feeding around 8000 people across the city.
But despite having received a container from the mayor two years ago and continued efforts to grow vegetables and keep the land clean, the Isaacs have not been able to use the land because of a lack of amenities.
“We applied to the City for water and electricity connection in October (last year) and have not received any feedback yet. We have the plot for the past five years and want to use it to do our feedings. We want to set up tables and chairs for the children when it is raining so that they can be inside and also be safe,” says Cecil.
“We can’t feed because there is no electricity and no water. We have sent in all the applications and finished all the procedures.”
And a recent incident has highlighted the safety concerns even further.
A man was shot and killed in the church on Thursday 2 August, while in the line to collect a warm plate of food.
The man had been in the line when he was shot the first time. He then ran into the church, seeking cover. The gunman had followed him into the kitchen where he fired several more shots. This is where the man died.
Police confirmed the incident, stating a 22-year-old man was shot shortly after 19:00 on the evening of Thursday 2 August and confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated.
“We have donors and we do not make any exceptions. We feed everyone that is in our line,” says Zelda.
“We read about this but to experience it was very tragic.”
Cecil adds: “We have respect for everyone and they have respect for us.”
But the moment tragedy struck, Cecil says the masses had already been fed, with only a few left in the line.
“It was very traumatic and unfortunate that it happened here in our feeding line,” Zelda says.
“This was our main concern. This is why we wanted to get the people off the street and on to the ground,” says Cecil.
They have fenced the ground and are hoping to build a second temporary structure.