Cape Town - Hundreds of people joined a protest in the streets of Hangberg in Hout Bay on Sunday to show their solidarity with the community and the families whose illegally built structures were broken down by the City of Cape Town.
Hangberg community representative, Lee Smith, said: “There has been a stigma attached to Hangberg that we are a lawless community, and marching peacefully today has proved differently. The families in the area continue to grow and they are being forced to house themselves.”
Smith said that 29 informal structures were earmarked to be broken down, but only two have been destroyed - largely because of the community’s reaction in defence.
“The community is hanging on by a thread and we aren’t sure when the City and law enforcement will return again,” he said.
First Indigenous Nation of South Africa chief, Sandra Green, said: “The people’s homes did not have to be broken down during the pandemic and a storm; it just shows the amount of rights our people actually have. Many people in the community are actually living in backyards because of the size of families.”
Green said it was understandable why the community would stand up for their rights, “because they actually have nowhere else to go”.
“These dunes of Hout Bay were fought for by the current residents’ forefathers and they are being denied their own land,” she said.
Resident and opposite neighbour of one of the homes that was broken down, Liesl Holmes, said: “There is no housing left in the area and families are already living in one-bedroom houses. Hangberg used to be a fishing village and it was flourishing, but since more control was taken over the area, people continued to be left with nothing.”
The City has offered emergency accommodation at a temporary relocation site in Hangberg for the family whose home was broken down. An inspection will be conducted tomorrow of the temporary relocation area.
The community was hoping to hand the memorandum to a City representative who was not present. It was then handed to a representative from the South African Human Rights Commission and the Western Cape SAPS Cluster.