Cape Town – The City has called the staged protest by Reclaim the City for their demanding the Green Point Bowling Club property be used for affordable housing as misleading.
Reclaim the City activists followed up their protest at the Rondebosch Golf Course in March by staging a protest at the bowling greens in Green Point on Wednesday, demanding it be used for affordable housing.
Following the protest, Reclaim the City members were charged with trespassing and violating the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act.
"It is very clear that the real social and human need for affordable housing opportunities continues to be used to drive political, lobbying and funding agendas," said Malusi Booi, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements.
"Instead of a much needed constructive partnership that the City is trying to establish, various pressure groups continue to act in bad faith, illegally and to the benefit of a few rather than to the majority. The City must act within the confines of the law and it must consider all of its residents, especially those who have been waiting for many years for housing opportunities.
"Every time that we see an illegal occupation, be it instigated by community leaders, criminal elements, political organisations or pressure- and lobby groups, such as what we saw yesterday at the Green Point Bowling Club, we deny fair and systematic processes amid a very high demand for accommodation brought on by continued rapid urbanisation," Booi said.
He stressed that the City’s committed to affordable, social housing in near-inner city areas in Central Cape Town as well as in other employment hubs.
"There is seemingly the need to mislead members of the public and to direct attention away from the work that the City and many partners is already doing to bring change to the accommodation landscape, within the confines of the law."
Green Point Bowling Club matter facts, according to the City:
- The City continues to develop near-inner city affordable housing opportunities. To state the contrary, is false.
- The emphasis is on Central Cape Town areas, as well as transport and employment hubs across the metro.
- The City is already working on a plan for affordable housing on a portion of the Green Point site in question. It will not be the entire site as this is a mixed use site and the City will follow all due process and the law. The City is very clear in its commitment to social housing and increased delivery of housing opportunities but it will not be bullied into illegal actions to achieve this
- The particular site for instance, houses the Pinocchio Crèche – famous for providing care services to the children of domestic workers, gardeners and other workers in the area. The City will not just kick them off the site.
- Any development on a portion of this site will be subject to a full and inclusive, legal public participation process. Then all subsequent legal prescripts will be followed.
- This is a long-term initiative. Illegal actions and publicity stunts help the organisations in question, but it sets back overall progress.
- The three-year lease of a portion of this land by the crèche and the bowling and bridge club was renewed while the developmental plans for affordable housing on a portion of this site progresses and is finalised.
"We encourage all organisations with an interest in the housing sphere to desist from the temptation to drive populist agendas; to act within the law and to be careful not to mislead residents and stakeholders.
"The City will continue to do everything in its power to create an enabling environment for increased social and affordable housing opportunities. It will continue to act in good faith and in a transparent manner," Booi said.