Cape Town - A group of squatters have marched to the Civic Centre after they were evicted from Arcadia Place in Observatory and spent several nights on the street.
The group, called Singabalapha (We belong here), were disappointed when their memorandum of demands did not reach City officials after they walked 6km on Tuesday.
Their spokesperson, Barbara Vuza, said the squatters were backyard dwellers, “seeking for government's attention”.
She said they came from various townships, such as Langa, Gugulethu, Nyanga East and Khayelitsha.
“We are tired of living in cramped conditions at our parents’ homes, in backyard shacks, where we are not able to afford exorbitant rents.”
“Therefore, we decided to occupy Arcadia Place as a means o protest. We, Singabalapha, continue not to be catered for by our government. While we continue engaging with the government, our engagements do not yield any positive results,” Vuza said.
She said they were now counting more than 12 days and 12 nights sleeping outside in the cold and rain, after the court ordered their eviction.
“Still no attention has been given to us by any political authorities, whether it be the local councillor or any superior political or government structures.”
Vuza said the group was worried about staying outside any longer, because they included children and patients of Groote Schuur hospital who had chronic health problems, such as asthma and tuberculosis.
Arcadia Place, owned by the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA), was left vacant for renovations. On September 17, a group of about 200 backyarders and shack dwellers began to occupy the space.
Squatter Sinazo Jordan said their demand was for the City to consider adequate accommodation for them.
“We do not want to be like our grandparents, who died holding on to red cards. Neither do we want to be like our parents, who died holding on to white cards. Our government is failing us dismally, especially in the Western Cape. The government caters for those who have no respect for the law, those who have no respect for public resources, those who have no respect for authority,” Jordan said.
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “Regrettably, the City did not receive prior notification of the march, nor was the memorandum addressed to anyone in particular. The matter was an eviction instituted by the non-profit organisation CPOA."
Booi said the City's human settlements directorate was not involved. “It was carried out by the Sheriff of the Court and the police.”