City of Cape Town's land sales slammed as 'bringing back the legacy of apartheid'
Cape Town - The City’s auction of prime pieces of land has been postponed after activists disrupted the sale, which has been condemned as a return to apartheid.
ClareMart Auction Group was mandated by the City to auction 34 parcels of prime land, however, the event was disrupted by Reclaim the City supporters.
They accused the City of taking Cape Town back to the apartheid era by pushing the poor further out of the City. ClareMart director Andrew Koch said: “Several opportunities for the people of Cape Town and the greater Western Cape, to acquire a property of their own, were lost today due to the auction being disrupted.
“We hope they will have another opportunity to bid on these vacant sites in their areas, and we await further instructions from the City, about how to proceed in this matter.”
The auction was held at the Hellenic Community Centre in Mouille Point.
The disruptions resulted in the City instructing ClareMart to cancel the auction.
ANC City Caucus leader Xolani Sotashe said: “The City is bringing back the legacy of apartheid and its a reversal of our hard fought democracy.
“The City is showing (the) middle finger to the government who wants expropriation of land without compensation. They want to make sure that by the time the bill becomes an act, there will be nothing to expropriate. People need shelter and the City is busy disposing of the properties.
“It’s a reckless action by the City to promote those who have deeper pockets and continue to benefit.”
But the City remains firm that it is trying to address the spatial segregation.
Acting mayoral committee member for human settlements Felicity Purchase said: “The City has been careful to manage expectations in transforming the spatial patterns of Cape Town.
“As is the case in towns across South Africa, this will not happen overnight. The housing economy is also a complex sphere that must be approached with a focus on partnerships and innovation while dealing with great demand and also historical legacies of injustice and inequality,” Purchase said.
Former mayco member for transport and urban development, now a Good party member, Brett Herron said: “The sale by public auction of a number of public properties includes public properties that should be used for addressing the affordable housing crisis and spatial integration.”
He said in 25 years the City was unable to identify a single housing project that addressed the spatial legacy of apartheid.
“These proposed sales are taking place despite an affordable housing crisis and a failure to address the apartheid urban structure of our city.
“This government (must) understand that the land belongs to all of us and they are the temporary custodians of public land.
“Their job is to employ that public land to address public needs but we continue to see irreversible disposals. This will exacerbate our crisis of affordable housing,” Herron said.
Among some of the prime properties that were to be auctioned was a small site in Bonteheuwel developed from a dumping site into a peace garden by the local community.
Reclaim the City said the City remained reluctant to reverse the spatial apartheid legacy.
“The City is stripping land to the highest bidder for cash at an unprecedented rate,” Reclaim the City said.
But it was the eviction on Monday afternoon of an 80-year-old man in Woodstock and his family after living in the house for over 40 years that irked the activists.
“Mayor Dan Plato, ward councillor Dave Bryant and city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo should be ashamed of themselves,” Reclaim the City said.