Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Siqalo Protest Action Inquiry held in Mitchell's Plain

Danielle Buise
04 March 2014


The Siqalo Protest Action Inquiry was held at the Colorado Community Hall in Mitchells Plain on March 3rd 2014. Attendees included Mayor Patricia De Lille accompanied by a panel of representatives from the City of Cape Town, members of the Colorado Park and Ronde Vlei communities, as well as small contingent representing the community of Siqalo.

Mayor Patricia de Lille opened the meeting with an introduction outlining key points on the agenda and commented on the City’s role, stating that ‘there are 204 informal settlements the City must deal with on a daily basis’.
The first speaker Mayoral Committee Member for transport Brett Herron stated that the city would construct barriers along Vanguard Drive in the next three weeks to cordon off access from the informal settlement.

The second point of discussion was presented by Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith, he explained that the City does not have bottomless resources and cannot solve problems that are meant to be solved by someone “with bigger pockets”. He also outlined steps that the City has taken to address complaints presented by the civic association; these included the issuing of fines for various traffic violations and the pending construction of Camera’s in the area.
The third point of discussion presented by Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg was services delivery, he explained that residents of Siqalo were concerned about water and waste disposal, in response 100 toilets were constructed on the periphery of the informal settlement, as well as an additional 200 flush toilets. The speaker added that property, including electric infrastructure, has since been vandalised and will be replaced only when it is safe to do so.

The Mayor Patricia de Lille then stated that the land under discussion is private property and that court proceedings are scheduled for the 12th of May. With regards to protest action, she says “we have started, to go to court to get an interdict to stop people who block Vanguard Drive and prevent people from going to work” and explained that SAPS does not take instructions from The City, they take instruction from national government.
De lille added that the City is helping the people of Mitchells Plain. The land invasion was planned says Patricia de Lille “they sold land to innocent people and as a result people paid for plots and they were promised houses. The inquiry was met with mixed response by members of the community with one community member saying “People are sick and tired but what are doing to help ourselves? We cannot fight fire with fire” said a member of The Rate Payers Association.

Another member of the community took the floor and explained “we are not here to infringe on anyone else’s rights but to defend our own rights”. Community members also called on The City to take responsibility and to ensure that the situation does not escalate into racial warfare, by “playing communities against each other” and using a social situation to further political aspirations.

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