Cape Town - Leaders of Cape Town Informal Settlements have threatened to embark on a “radical march” early next year should they not reach an agreement with the premier.
In a press conference held at the Blue Hall in Site C, Khayelitsha, on Monday, informal settlement leaders said they were giving Helen Zille until the end of January to come up with a solution to the issues of poor services and housing or they would stage a “big march” in February.
Suspended city councillor Loyiso Nkohla said that if Zille failed “to respond with a tangible plan and solutions to answer in the constructive engagement process that we have opted to pursue, on the advice of our religious leaders, we will certainly embark on a robust and radical programme that will make the Western Cape government listen to its own people”.
After two planned marches to the city centre failed to take place when organisers were unable to secure a permit from the City of Cape Town, leaders Andile Lili and Nkohla met Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and other religious leaders, who pledged to mediate in talks between the provincial government and the informal settlement leaders.
Lili said that by cancelling the two marches they had showed they were law-abiding citizens. But if there was no solution they would not bother to apply for a permit for another march.
“We will make sure that there is a stayaway. No one must go to work while others are suffering.”
Another leader present at the conference, Mongami Mbili, said they would also close all national roads.
“We will build shacks on the N2 and in every open space in the townships.”
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said this would be against the law and the shacks would be demolished.
“These people are compelling government to take forceful actions on individuals so that they can get media images ahead of the elections” he said.
Zak Mbele, spokesman for the premier’s office, said the group’s grievances had already been answered by Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela in a meeting they had last week.
“It is highly disingenuous of them to claim that “no one has got back to them” when they had had a two-hour meeting with the MEC.
“If that is not engagement, what is? That is a question that must be asked of these leaders directly and relentlessly until they give an honest answer.”