Land and housing movement representatives descended in their masses on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state home in Rondebosch on Wednesday, demanding the government intervene in the ongoing plight of the poor by releasing much-needed land to alleviate the growing housing crisis.
The eight social movements – Indibano Yabahlali, Intlungu YaseMatyotyombeni, Reclaim the City, Housing Assembly, Surplus People’s Project, Barney Malokoena Section, Abahlali baseMjondolo (KZN) and Inner City Federation (JHB) – collectively submitted 26 applications to the Presidency for the donation of 32 parcels of vacant land to communities living with insecure tenure.
With placards in hand, accompanied by traffic officials and police, they marched from Liesbeek Road in Mowbray to Ramaphosa’s Genadendal residence, arriving at about 1.30pm.
On arrival, applications for donations of land were handed over by Reclaim the City leader Karen Hendricks and land and housing activist Nikelwa Maqula. They were received by deputy director for Households Genadendal, Estiaan White.
The campaign said more applications were set to follow.
Housing Assembly leader, Kashiefa Achmat, said the president had declared “war” on the poor.
“Mr President, we only want you to donate the land and vacant buildings for us to live a decent and peaceful life.
“We are tired of bullets and empty promises, 29 years later, nothing has changed. We want your conscience to lead you to the right decision.
“Living a luxurious lifestyle while your people live in so much poverty and homelessness. Women, children and the elderly are most deeply affected and living in these insecure and unsafe spaces is our daily reality,” said Achmat.
Ndifuna Ukwazi political organiser, Luyanda Mtamzeli, added: “Less than 25% of Cape Town households can afford the cheapest home on the market. Put simply, the majority of South Africans are structurally excluded from accessing decent housing.
“Evictions are widespread and informal settlements are growing rapidly and most significantly it is women and female-headed households who are most affected. State incapacity, rapid urbanisation, widespread unemployment and weak economic performance have all combined to create a thoroughly unsustainable situation across the country.”
“This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the fact that while there were 300 informal settlements in 1994, there are close to 3 000 today.”