Blikkiesdorp residents on Monday met with Mayor Patricia de Lille to discuss the plans for relocation. While the City of Cape Town has assured residents that the temporary relocation area is soon to be dismantled, residents are unimpressed by what they describe as the City’s inefficiency.
Secretary of the Blikkiesdorp Joint Committee, Etienne Claasen, explained that though residents were initially told that two pieces of land will be made available for the relocated residents, the Mayor on Monday said that only one piece of land is available.
Claasen said that the available land will be used for the development of housing, but will only accommodate 10 000 individuals from Malawi Camp, Freedom Farm and Blikkiesdorp.
In response to the meeting with the Mayor, Blikkiesdorp residents held a public meeting on Tuesday in which they voiced their frustration about the new developments.
“The community is very upset by what is taking place, because Malawi Camp and Freedom Farm are informal settlements, where Blikkiesdorp structures were built by the City, so the City can’t include us with them,” Claasen said.
Since the population of Blikkiesdorp is estimated to be approximately 25 000, Blikkiesdorp residents feel that their relocation should be prioritized.
Claasen further noted that the Committee intends to raise these concerns in their next meeting with the Mayor, which is scheduled to take place in mid-July.
“We are a family in Blikkiesdorp, but now we must move with the [residents of] Freedom Farm and Malawi Camp, that is not what the people want. This community is really fed-up with the city, since it promised the community nine years ago that they will only stay here [in Blikkiesdorp] for six months – it’s almost a decade now, ” he continued.
In addition to the lack of availability of housing in the City, national government has adopted stringent qualification criteria for the allocation of homes. The Criteria includes an age limit, which states that residents need to be 40 years and older in order to qualify for a home.
In response to concerns raised in the previous meeting, Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Bennedicta Van Minnen, explained the criteria for the qualification of housing are legislated by national government and that the City is considering alternatives for residents who do not qualify for a subsidy.
“The criteria includes; earning less than R3500 a month, belonging to a vulnerable group (having a disability or being a military veteran), or being over 40 years old. Those who do not qualify certainly won’t find themselves high and dry with no opportunities, as the City is looking at the option of service sites,” she continued.
Last month, De Lille said the residents of Blikkiesdorp will elect and establish a Project Steering Committee and would “plan the way forward together”.
“Both the Blikkiesdorp Joint Committee and the City of Cape Town remain committed to working together and building trust for the betterment of the lives of the people of Blikkiesdorp,” she said.