Housing protest shuts Helderberg roads
Cape Town - Just a day after hundreds marched through Cape Town in a service delivery protest, police were pelted with stones by residents of Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, who also burned tyres and blocked roads with rubble in a violent protest over housing.
Hundreds of protesters blocked the road leading into the village with burning tree stumps, rubble and tyres and had a stand-off with police, who were attacked with stones.
The Sir Lowry’s Pass Village protest followed on the heels of a major political protest march held by the ANC yesterday, during which activists also demanded “proper” housing.
The Sir Lowry’s residents were protesting over a temporary relocation area (TRA) being built by the council.
The floor plans for the first few units in the Riemvasmaak TRA were detailed this week.
However, residents, who are to be relocated from areas which flood during winter, have complained that the units will be too small for their families and furniture.
Alf Johnson, a lifelong resident of the area, lives with six other family members in a spacious shack on the edge of the stream which runs through the village. Every winter his home floods.
“Last time we had heavy rains the water was up to my ankles. A lot of my furniture has been damaged,” he said.
“I applied to relocate here to Riemvasmaak, but now I can see that this will not work. There is barely enough space for two people to live (in the new accommodation).”
Residents said the new accommodation had been badly designed, and they had not been properly consulted during the planning process.
Magriet Britz, of the Neighbourhood Watch, acknowledged the people’s unhappiness, and also said the units were too small.
However, she reprimanded the protesters for raising these issues now, at the last minute.
“There were meetings to discuss the planning for Riemvasmaak,” she said.
“But, people don’t bother coming to these meetings. They are absent when the consultation happens, or when they are there they do not speak up and make their voices heard. Now they have to accept the outcome, because it is too late to change things.”
At the time of publication, residents and local ward councillor Johan Middleton were meeting at a nearby town hall, but the City of Cape Town had not responded to Cape Argus queries.
Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said there were about 200 protesters but other witnesses estimated that there were many more. Africa said the protest had not affected traffic on the nearby N2 highway, but some local roads had been closed.