Masiphumelele community activists ruffled some feathers at a sub-council meeting on Tuesday last week when they were removed by law enforcement for holding up posters.
Horst Kleinschmidt and Rosemary Milbank demanded answers from the City of Cape Town about the delay in GAP housing for Masiphumelele residents after the signing of a settlement agreement between the City and community leaders in November last year.
In the agreement, the City said it would move residents currently living in the wetlands to erf 5131 and provide them with low-cost housing (“Agreement with City a victory for Masi,” Echo December 7, 2017).
The agreement followed the intervention of public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane after a visit to the settlement earlier last year.
In a statement to the Echo, Mr Kleinschmidt said he and Ms Milbank had acted in support of community leader Tshepo Moletsane, who wanted to know from sub-council what had happened to the agreement.
He said Mr Moletsane was an- noyed that the matter had not been on the agenda and had asked why he had not had a response to his written questions about moving residents to erf 5131, as many still lived in dire conditions with shacks on stilts surrounded by stagnant water and sewage.
Mr Kleinschmidt said when the sub-council chairperson and ward councillor for Fish Hoek, Felicity Purchase, had not referred to the development plan, he and Ms Milbank had stood up during the pro- ceedings holding A4 size boards posing the question “Where is the Masi Plan?”
He claimed that without answering, Ms Purchase had ruled that it was a demonstration and had asked law enforcement to evict them.
Ms Purchase confirmed that they had been evicted and said sub- councils were intended to bring government closer to the people and like the national and provincial parliaments and the City council they were open to public scrutiny but also held in an orderly manner with an agenda and protocols for engagement.
“To allow individuals to interrupt these formal proceedings as and when they please is anarchic and the natural result would be the breakdown of the structure and the failure of local government,” she said.
Ms Purchase said the Masiphumelele development plan had been addressed at the meeting, which had heard it was in its final phase.
The City was waiting for the appointment of someone to manage the public consultation process, which was due to start next month, as wetland residents would need be relocated while the work was done.
Before wetlands residents could be moved to a portion of erf 5131, the City had to acquire a portion of another plot – erf 4198 – and it was negotiating with SANParks to do so, she said.
An environmental impact assess- ment also needed to be done before any relocations could take place.