Protest to halt housing project

Ocean View residents and members of the group, Simon’s Town and Surrounding Area Forcefully Removed Fighting Back, making their way to the civic centre.

About 100 Ocean View residents marched to the Fish Hoek civic centre on Saturday, calling for a housing project to be halted.

They presented a memorandum to the City of Cape Town calling for work to stop on the City’s R170 million Dido Valley project until their grievances over its allocation of houses are dealt with.

One hundred of the 600 Breaking New Ground (BNG) subsidised houses are for land-restitution claims from Luyolo, a former Simon’s Town settlement that was demolished in 1967/68.

The rest are for Red Hill residents, and it’s those 500 houses the marchers feel should go to Ocean View residents who were removed from the area under apartheid and have been on the housing list for more than 20 years.

The City previously told the Echo that the regional land claims commission, and not it, was responsible for allocating the houses at Dido Valley, but that has proved to be a falsehood.

Aslam Richards, the founder of Simon’s Town and Surrounding Area Forcefully Removed Fighting Back, led the march on Saturday, along with the group’s legal representative, Abe Braaf.

Chanting “ons is gatvol” and “we are the rightful owners of the Western Cape”, they walked from Shoprite in Fish Hoek’s Main Road with placards saying “Simon’s Town is our heritage”, “Apartheid 1969 now DA racist”, “Back to Dido Valley” and “Our heritage not for sale”.

At the gates of the civic centre, which was closed by police before the group arrived, Ocean View resident Joan Orgill read the memorandum.

The group had asked mayor Dan Plato to receive the memorandum but had been told sub-council chairwoman Patricia Francke would do so as the mayor was unavailable.

However, when the group were told at the civic centre that Ms Francke’s receptionist would take the memorandum, they refused to hand it over and demanded to see Ms Francke, who then emerged from her office.

“Councillor Pat Francke, we would like to hear from you. How can you as a former resident of Ocean View allow this to happen to our community? You don’t have enough respect for us to come here and accept this memorandum. Instead you sit in your office and ask your receptionist to accept this memorandum. It is clear to us, as the community of Ocean View, that you do not care about us,” Mr Richards said.

The crowd shouted “she is a disgrace” and “you have betrayed us”.

Ms Francke then addressed the crowd.

“Before I do anything, allow me to say this to you, Ocean View: I personally ask forgiveness”

The crowd booed her, gave her the memorandum and then dispersed.

Fish Hoek police spokesman Warrant Officer Peter Middelton said it was a peaceful protest without any incidents.

The Echo reported last week that the City was only responsible for the implementation of the housing component of the project, not for selecting land claimants.

The City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said the regional land claims commission was responsible for verifying land claimants and it provided the names to the City.

However, deputy director for communications at the office of the regional land claims commissioner for the Western Cape, Vuyani Nkasayi, disputed that, saying the commission was only responsible for the 100 units set aside for land-restitution claims.

In a subsequent statement to the Echo, Mr Booi admitted the City was responsible for allocating the remaining 500 units.

He added that residents who claimed they should receive homes based on their status as former residents who were forcefully removed, and were not on the City’s housing list, should contact the land claims commission.