The water tank tower in Lwandle, Strand, which many say is a landmark, was an irrigation system when the area was still a farm with a food garden below it. Picture: Supplied
The water tank tower in Lwandle, Strand, which many say is a landmark, was an irrigation system when the area was still a farm with a food garden below it. Picture: Supplied

Destruction of Lwandle water-tank tower equal to 'erasing the history of the area'

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jun 17, 2021

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Cape Town - Young people in Lwandle in Strand, in collaboration with the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum, held a march on Wednesday over the proposed demolition of a water-tank tower by the City of Cape Town.

The water tank, which many say is a landmark, was an irrigation system when the area was a farm and has a food garden below it.

The youth cleaned up the garden, and planted trees, herbs and vegetables in defiance of the demolition.

Lwandle Migrant Worker Museum education officer and the organiser of the march, Amanda Koba, said there were various opinions on the proposed demolition of the water tank.

“Through this silent march, we want to create awareness around this issue so that the community makes informed decisions, and we have decided to offer a platform where these young people will have a say about things that affect them.

“As a museum, we are not saying it must be demolished or not, but invited people that are informed on the history of the area and its significance,” she said.

Community activist Xolani Diniso said the community was shocked at the proposal. He said the community had not been consulted, and called on the City to convene a “proper” public participation process.

“We are of the view that the community should be involved, and there should be public participation on the issue, as we were not afforded that. We only saw on the papers that submissions were already closed.

“We call upon the City to engage the community of Lwandle, because demolishing the tower is equivalent to erasing the history of the area,” said Diniso.

Young people in Lwandle cleaned up the garden, and planted trees, herbs and vegetables in defiance of the proposed demolition of a water-tank tower by the City.

Diniso said if the City said the tower was of no use to them, it should be transferred to the ownership of the community, to make it attractive to tourists.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said the reason for the proposed demolition is that the structure was no longer in service and was not being maintained.

Limberg said the water tower was no longer in use, as reservoirs have been built to provide water to the community.

“The asset reached the end of its lifespan, as all eventually do, from an engineering perspective,” she said.

Limberg said the department conducted a review of redundant structures and found that some posed a risk for land invasion, or stood in the way of new infrastructure programmes.

Limberg said the tower did not pose an immediate threat, as it was not filled with water and therefore not bearing a load. However, the City could not guarantee the safety of the structure or leave it there permanently.

Limberg added that the department had no alternative use for the tower and no other parties wished to take ownership of it. She said the community comments on the matter had been sent to Heritage Western Cape for consideration and further comment.

The City’s Water and Waste department was awaiting their input.

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