Cape Town - The ward councillor for the Bo-Kaap has accepted a letter of demand from residents who do not want their community subjected to gentrification.
This comes after three days of protests as Bo-Kaap residents brought Wale Street to a standstill, saying they do not want tourists in their community and refused to countenance new developments before the community’s heritage preservation status was approved.
Bo-Kaap Civic Association spokesperson Osman Shaboodien said: “The City has been aware of our issues for a very long time.
"We want them to take our concerns as a high priority. Bo-Kaap residents are suffering at the hands of greed by the City, which has allowed new developments.”
The protest in the Bo-Kaap since Monday saw hundreds of residents rally, burning tyres and debris. “A number of issues, ignored for years, created this explosion.
These include the high tariff rates and exorbitant levies they want from pensioners and residents of this community.
“New developments are being put up all over the place but we do not benefit. We have about 40 buses parked in our roads daily.
"All these developments are being put up before the heritage protection zoning is applied,” Shaboodien said.
Ward councillor Brandon Golding said he has driven a rebate process and urged qualifying Bo-Kaap residents to apply for rates relief.
“This has been done with the assistance of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association. Our sessions resulted in many qualifying residents being granted municipal rates relief.
"Should any resident require their application to be processed, contact him directly to facilitate this process,” Golding said.
Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said: “Every development application needs to comply with checks and balances to ensure appropriate development takes place in the appropriate location.
“Bo-Kaap has heritage protection - in fact, we are in court at the moment over a Buitengracht Street development where Bo-Kaap residents are seeking to set aside the planning approval. They base part of their case on the heritage status.”