Cape Town – On Tuesday, 4 December 2018, social housing and advocacy groups have erected shacks to reclaim Site B on the Foreshore. This comes following reports that the City lost out on R140 million of public money due to an alleged botched auction of prime land on the Foreshore.
Social housing advocacy group Ndifuna Ukwazi initially sounded the alarm after they obtained documents which raised serious questions about top City officials allegedly implicated in a so-called botched auction of the prime piece of land.
The City gave notice in local newspapers of an application by Growthpoint Properties Limited to develop Site B – a 3 932m2 piece of prime land on the Foreshore.
Growthpoint plans to develop a skyscraper that “aims to be a world-class, timeless, innovative, sustainable building, which will serve to inspire future buildings”.
The City previously announced that a forensic investigation into an alleged botched auction of a prime piece of land in Green Point was under way.
“A forensic investigation is under way at the request of the city manager after he considered the matter. The original request for a forensic investigation into this matter, came from the deputy mayor Ian Neilson, and not Patricia de Lille,” said Luthando Tyhalibongo, spokesperson for the City last month.
In a statement issued by Reclaim the City, Social Justice Coalition, #UniteBehind Coalition, they said that public land should be used to cater to the poor and working class.
“Public land should never be sold in a housing crisis. And if it is, then the money should be used for basic services or affordable housing for poor and working class people,” the statement said.
We have been living in basements and backyards, and on wetlands and dunes for decades and still, like our parents and grandparents, the government will not grant us the basic right to live on the land, or stop our eviction and displacement to camps. pic.twitter.com/sJ0AQjCKxH
“We have visited Growthpoint. We have visited officials. We have visited Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson who was in charge. But none of these people were prepared to give us a straight answer.
“We believe this can only be collusion, negligence or corruption.”
The statement said that property power maintains inequality and keeps the majority of people dispossessed and homeless.
“If we are going to build an inclusive, equal and just society and economy then we must resist property power and public land must be redistributed.
“Like Site B, our best public land is captured by a wealthy few. Their homes are made of marble and glass and sit empty most of the year. Our homes are made of wood and zinc on the edge of the city which are often engulfed by deadly fires that injure us and destroy the little we have. Our journey to work every day is unsafe and unreliable on failing trains or taxis where you can get shot,” the statement said.
“No doubt those in power who work to maintain the status quo will send the anti-land invasion unit to intimidate and threaten us. They are always deployed to protect the right to property, but never deployed to advance our right to housing, our right to dignity, and our right to equality.
“No doubt they will send the police who will use stun grenades and tear gas like they did in Bo-Kaap. They are always deployed to protect those who should be held accountable, but rarely deployed to protect us.
“We are tired of marching with banners and placards. We are tired of living in places where we are unseen and ignored. We will build our shacks here in peaceful protest. And we will pack your jails to reclaim this stolen public land at the centre of the city. “
Our Constitution places land at the heart of transformation of our city and our country. And yet, if our well-located inner city land can be captured in plain sight, then what hope do we have for the rest of our country? pic.twitter.com/MvmD7uZkBw