Activists fighting for affordable housing in Sea Point have accused the provincial government of using delaying tactics by extending the public comment period for the Tafelberg feasibility study by two weeks.
Sea Point members of Reclaim The City were joined by Bromwell Street residents in a protest outside the Department of Public Works last week Wednesday, February 1 .
The protest was a show of solidarity by working class people who have been facing eviction in the inner city.
Members of Reclaim The City said the public had had enough time to comment on the study since its release in November.
The study is part of the public participation process that followed a High Court ruling last year to reverse the controversial R135 million sale of the Tafelberg site to Phyllis Jowell Jewish Day School.
Reclaim The City supporters want the land used for affordable housing. The feasibility study found the site could accommodate 270 social housing units.
Sheila Madikana, chairwoman of Reclaim The City’s Sea Point chapter, said they had waited long enough to get answers.
“We have been fighting this struggle in Sea Point for a place for so long. All of a sudden we have to leave Sea Point and the inner-city.
“They want to throw us in Pelican Park, Delft and Khayelitsha. We are going nowhere. Some of the people that started this struggle in Sea Point in 1996 have been forced to move out.”
She said the struggle for inner-city accommodation would continue.
“An injury to one is an injury to all. I’m facing eviction, but I don’t mind; it doesn’t scare me. It makes me stronger.”
She said Reclaim The City had submitted their comments for the report on time and that they were frustrated by the two-week extension. “The domestic workers in Sea Point worked so hard, day and night, to meet the deadline, but now you want to tell us we have to wait till February 15?”
Joanne Louw was also at the protest. She said she had been staying in Sea Point for more than 10 years. “The only thing we want to hear is where do we go from here? There are so many in Sea Point that have been put into the backyards. These people need to be able to have proper accommodation.”
Charnell Commando, who is the spokesperson for the Bromwell Street residents facing eviction in Woodstock, said Sea Point faced the same struggle as Woodstock.
“I’m a kitchen assistant, and I’m proud to say it. This kitchen assistant went to find the City’s land for them. We are also in an eviction struggle. We are going the same route as everyone else in Cape Town. People are getting evicted all over.”
She said the Bromwell Street residents had come to show support for the Sea Point residents facing eviction.
“If everyone in Cape Town stands together, they will listen. It’s not right for people to be put out in the street with their children. Every person has the right to have a roof over their head so this Tafelberg site is only the beginning. We want our city back, we are humans just like they are.”
Last week, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works Siphesihle Dube, confirmed that a two-week extension had been granted following a request from the Phyllis Jowell school (“Show of Support”, Atlantic Sun, February 2).
“Once the comment period has closed, the comments will then be presented to cabinet for consideration in making their final decision,” he said.