The derelict SABC building, Rocklands Villa.
Cape Town - Earlier this week, members of Umhlaba Wethu Development visited the vacant, derelict Rocklands SABC building site in Three Anchor Bay.

The group is asking for the SABC and the Department of Human Settlements to convert the site, that has been vacant for more than 20 years, into affordable housing. 

One of the main reasons cited by Umhlaba Wethu for wanting the building converted is high transport costs for workers travelling to the Atlantic Seaboard.

Thandeka Sisusa, 38, said she had been enduring the pain of eviction “for decades”.

“There are so many people who get evicted from their buildings because they cannot afford to live there. We don’t want to go out of town and getting evicted means protests, which are unnecessary,” said Sisusa.

“They say that area will change if we move in there. Nothing will change if we move in with the rich people also there. We just want to be cared for and treated like human beings with affordable housing,” she said.

Sisusa was arrested in 1996 for occupying the SABC building and spent a weekend in a jail cell. She now lives in the Somerset Hospital precinct in a building occupied by 200 people.

Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela said he supported the plight of Umhlaba Wethu.

“I wouldn’t oppose any vacant buildings being converted for them to live in and I support the principle they stand for,” said Madikizela.

When asked what his department would do to create affordable housing, Madikizela referred to the city’s plans for developing the Somerset Hospital precinct and land in Woodstock.

Umhlaba Wethu approached ANC MPL Cameron Dugmore for help and he accompanied them to the SABC building this week.

Dugmore has said he would arrange a meeting with Minister for Human Settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo and Minister for Communications Nomvula Mokonyane.

Weekend Argus