Residents battle ban

Bo-Kaap residents picketing outside the Western Cape High Court on Friday July 6.

The Bo-Kaap community has vowed to oppose developer, Blok’s application for a court interdict against certain members of the community.

On Friday July 6, Bo-Kaap residents picketed outside the Western Cape High Court to oppose the court interdict and show their grievances relating to developments in their area – which they have been protesting against for the past three months.

Judge Robert Henney granted the interdict on Friday July 6. However, those who oppose the judgment can file papers by Monday August 6 and contest it on Friday August 17.

The residents are demanding that no more land be sold off to developers and calling for the City of Cape Town to declare the area a heritage site.

They are also opposing the sale of the land on which the St Monica’s Home is situated.

The interdict by Blok stated that anyone trespassing on the site would be prosecuted.

“We’re defending our community against the interim court by Blok to protect their site in Bo-Kaap,” said Bo-Kaap Civic Association chairman, Osman Shaboodien.

“They took it out against the whole community and are basically targeting anyone who trespasses, walks past, makes remarks and protests against their sites,” he added.

Mr Shaboodien said the community was angered by the interdict as well as allegations that Bo-Kaap residents were violent, unreasonable and didn’t appreciate what Blok were doing for the community.

“Basically they are calling us a bunch of terrorists,” he said.

Blok spokesperson Colin Wardle, said the decision to apply for the court interdict had not been an easy one to make, as they’d been trying to engage the community about the matter .

“We’ve applied for an interdict against certain individuals including Bo-Kaap Youth who were intimidating people working on our site,” he said.

“We have seen videos and photos proving this and by the application, we’re hoping to prohibit that behaviour.” Mr Wardle accused Bo-Kaap Youth of taking the law into their own hands, saying that last week the organisation had prevented workers from bringing cranes into the area.

Mr Shaboodien said that developers were relentless and believed they got their plans passed quickly because they had money. “If you want to build social housing in Bo-Kaap you will wait a lifetime, but if you want to build luxury flats in Bo-Kaap, you won’t even wait three months,” he said.

Mr Shaboodien said they didn’t understand how prime pieces of land were being sold without being subject to a public participation process.

He said the community would oppose the interdict because the entire community was not happy with the current situation. “Just the other day, a car fell into a hole because our roads collapse due to heavy trucks and their heavy equipment,” he said.

Bo-Kaap resident Avi Akazansky added: “I live in Lion Street and I’m furious about the interim order. The entire community is against the developments and now Blok wants to jail residents for fighting for what’s right.” One of the founding members of the Bo-Kaap Youth, Tariq Heuwel, said they had cancelled their engagements to join in the fight for their community.

“We will resist to exist,” he said.