Samekoms undeterred by Western Cape government’s ’threat of violence’ over Tokai gathering
Cape Town – The Western Cape Department of Public Works has warned the Samekoms Movement against gathering at Porter Estate next to Tokai Forest on Saturday to launch its land restoration programme.
Samekoms administrator Gatto Wanza’s response to IOL on Tuesday was: ’’In the culture of the indigenous people, problem-solving is done through dialogue, not through threats of violence.’’
An undeterred Wanza said the gathering will still take place from 10am and a meeting tonight will provide more clarity on how they will proceed.
Highlighting the continued oppression of the indigenous people, ’’who have been forcibly removed from our land by white people’’, Samekoms has extended a ’’hand of friendship to the people of Constantia as we wish to engage with you on the implications of the indigenous people and the white people coming together, living together and treating each other with respect as equals’’.
However, the Western Cape Cape government’s Chief Directorate: Immovable Asset Management and Directorate Property Management, in a communique signed by regional manager Jerome Harry, said: ’’The Western Cape Department of Public Works is the custodian of Porter Estate. We have not received a request to hold the said gathering.
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’’This is Western Cape Government property and demonstrations or gatherings are not welcomed and will not be allowed without permission.
’’Any attempts of unlawful occupation of the land and or disruption of Government activities will be vigorously opposed., and the necessary legal action will be taken immediately should such occur.
’’Take note that the City of Cape Town’s Land Invasion Department and Law Enforcement, as well as the South African Police Service, will be contacted immediately for the removal of any unlawful occupants.’’
Wanza has slammed the misleading communique, saying: '’They are lying when they say they have not received such a request. We have been writing to them the last couple of months and years and they are refusing to engage with us.
’’Our culture dictates that the government isn’t our boss, it is our equal, but they way it operates is as if it is in control of us.
’’In terms of colonial practices, the government sees itself as superior. We are exposing them and we are not standing back because they are threatening us with violence.
’’We are exposing that the government’s interest is to protect the rich and to make our lives a misery. We are living in a farce as we were told in 1994 that we are free, but the wealth remains in the hands of the whites.’’
Confusion also reigns on who owns the particular piece of land in question, Wanza said.
’’The premier said he unfortunately couldn’t talk to us. He referred us to Anroux Marais, the minister of cultural affairs and sport. Her officials informed us the land in question doesn’t fall under the province but under national Pubic Works, and they referred us to the national minister, Patricia de Lille.
’’Yesterday, we got a directive from the provincial Department of Public Works and they say it is their land. But there is only one government and that’s the national government, and they operate on three levels: national, provincial and local.
’’The Constitution of the land says the three levels of government must cooperate with each other. In practice, they are still operating according to a colonial system where the provincial government thinks it’s a government on its own.’’
Wanza said it’s not only about Saturday, but will be a continuing dialogue on how to end economic apartheid.
’’We have started a process of dialogue four years ago with the people of Constantia through engagements with the residents and ratepayers association, with faith-based organisations, schools, the municipality, government institutions and with both Groot and Klein Constantia. We have also started a process of engagement with former residents who are known as land claimants.’’