Members of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association picket outside the Western Cape High Court against the planned developments in the Bo-Kaap area.
Members of the Bo-Kaap Civic Association picket outside the Western Cape High Court against the planned developments in the Bo-Kaap area.

Commission ordered to facilitate talks on construction in Bo-Kaap

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Jul 9, 2018

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The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has been ordered to facilitate talks between developers and disgruntled Bo-Kaap residents regarding concerns over construction in the area.

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney on Friday granted Blok Urban Living’s interdict against “all other persons trespassing, unlawfully conducting themselves or attempting to trespass or unlawfully conduct themselves” from entering and ­disrupting construction on erf 2970.

The property developer had purchased the site, in Lion Street, in March last year, and the City had approved the development of 56 residential units.

Construction started in April, and there is currently another application pending with the City over exchanging 29 parking units, their papers said.

Blok last week asked the court to interdict among others, the Bo-Kaap Youth, and “all other persons trespassing” from entering erf 2970, which Judge Henney granted.

Judge Henney also ordered a meeting take place between Blok, Bo-Kaap representative Sheik Dawood Terblanche, and the SAHRC within the next 10 days. This is for the SAHRC to mediate talks between the two parties.

Bo-Kaap Youth spokesperson Safwaan Laubscher said they had mixed feelings about the order because the respondent, “all other persons trespassing” was vague, and could include anyone, even people from outside the area.

“We trust Sheik Dawood to represent us. He listens to residents and meets with us. He has the community’s interest

at heart. The order, though, still implicates everyone,” Laubscher said.

In their court papers Blok argued that “protests have been ongoing in the Bo-Kaap area for some weeks now, with residents gathering between the corner of Wale and Buitengracht Street opposite Raage’s mini market cafe and between the corner of Rose and Wale Streets opposite Rose cafe.

“There is community opposition to the gentrification of the area, and to the sale of municipal land to private developers.”

But a resident, and lawyer, said Judge Henney had recognised residents’ right to protest, and that the interdict could not trump that right.

Choosing not to be named, she said the culture and heri­tage of Bo-Kaap needed to be taken into consideration, and the developers had not done so.

“The other respondent, Mujahid Hartley, had said he met the developers at 10am, yet at 3pm they were served with court papers. How can that be if he had just met with them? There needs to be better communication.

“The demonstrations were not in Lion Street, and Judge Henney recognised that. The protests in Wale Street were peaceful. We commend Judge Henney for his engaging approach in court,” she said.

The City did not respond to questions yesterday.

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