03 May 2019

Reclaim the City used Workers’
Day to step up their campaign for access to affordable housing near Cape Town’s
city centre.

The housing activist group
occupied a lawn belonging to the Atlantic Green Point Bowling Club on Wednesday
morning and constructed a wall made of concrete blocks, measuring about six
metres in length and nearly two metres high.

Lukhanyo Madyibi, Reclaim the
City’s leader in Sea Point, said the wall symbolises the need for affordable housing
on Green Point’s prime public land, some of which is currently used for bowling

told GroundUp that the
wall is the start of a house, and it is now the City of Cape Town’s job to
finish building it. This latest act of civil disobedience follows Reclaim the
City’s protest on Rondebosch Golf Club on 21 March.

Some placards read: “Distribute
golf club land for affordable rentals”, “I pay R5,000 per month but you pay
R1,000 per year VOETSEK” (a reference to the rent golf clubs are paying for
City-owned land), and “You should be ashamed”.

They also placed red flags with
Reclaim the City’s logo on the poles of the security fence of the bowling club.

SAPS and Metro police officers
arrived at the scene and spoke briefly to the protesters. No arrests were made
and the protest dispersed without incident in the late afternoon.

Bevil Lucas, a Reclaim the City
leader, said that access to land and housing is an important issue for working
class people. He said the housing crisis is a consequence of the apartheid
government not providing adequate housing accommodation for working people.
But, he said, the post-apartheid government is also failing its obligation to
provide adequate housing.

“We have a historic acute
shortage of housing. We have been campaigning for decent housing in Sea Point,
Cape Town city centre, and Woodstock. This site has been identified by the City
as a site to build social housing. That in itself is a victory for the black
workers who live and work in this area,” said Lucas.

He said it has been more than a year since City officials “earmarked the site” for social housing. The City had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.

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