Calm returns to Imizamo Yethu as violent protests die down

By Norman Cloete Time of article published Jul 1, 2017

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RESIDENTS of the Imizamo Yethu (IY) informal settlement in Hout Bay went on the rampage on Saturday, burning tyres and dismantling temporary structures provided to them by the City after recent fires.

The 500-strong crowd took their frustrations over the lack of housing and service delivery to the streets, blockading the main road into Hout Bay and barricading the busy Victoria Road.

They also set fire to the wood and zinc structures, and pelted police with stones. The police retaliated by firing tear gas at the crowds.

The City and IY residents are at loggerheads over some residents’ refusal to vacate a piece of land where the City is due to start building homes for the now-displaced residents.

A devastating fire ravaged the informal settlement in March, and residents were moved to vacant land nearby.

residents have claimed that Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, promised them that the make-shift structures would only be their temporary homes for three months.

That was on March 10. Residents say they now entering the fourth month after that promise was made and they are fed up.  

The City in turn said the delay was due to the refusal of some residents to move from the land earmarked for the building of new homes.

ANC local councillor, Bheki Hadebe said: “we don’t want to force anyone to move, we want to work with the people to find a way forward.”

When pressed by Weekend Argus about whether the residents understood that they were standing in the way of their own homes, Hadebe described the situation as an “oversight”.

According to Hadebe, a meeting is scheduled for Monday, which will hopefully pave the way for the construction of homes to commence in Imizamo Yethu.

Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League Dullah Omar Region issued a statement following this morning's violent protests, condemning the "DA-led City of Cape Town for failing to rebuild Hout Bay's Imizamo Yethu Informal Settlement in a manner that restores dignity".

The statement read: "A NC Youth League Dullah Omar Region commends the courageous young and old of Imizamo Yethu for highlighting the failure of the DA led City of Cape Town to rebuild the lives of Imizamo Yethu Fire victims.  
ANCYL Dullah Omar Region condemns the Mayor of Cape Town for failing to meet the residents of IY and further condemns DA Ward Councillor Roberto Quintas for failing to attend to the concerns of resident and citing his safety as the reason for not addressing the plight of IY residents, this we strongly condemn. We believes that this protest is evident that the Clean Audit the City boast about does equal services delivery to the poor working class of Cape Town." 

The ANCYL further demanded that the mayor and Ward Councillor Roberto Quintas meet with the people of IY before the end of today, and that "an investigation is launched by the City to determine how much money was donated to Fire Victims, who received this funds and what is was used for."

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