Bonteheuwel residents are outraged over the City of Cape Town’s plans to auction off a piece of land the community transformed into a peace garden. According to residents, there was no public participation and they blame local ward councillor Angus McKenzie for failing to ensure that the process was fair and transparent. McKenzie rejected the allegations saying the process was thorough and no objection was raised by residents and or organizations.
Soraya Salie, founder of Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies said residents were never told about the participation process.
“We knew nothing about the participation process. We just saw the auction sign and that was that. The City said they advertised the auctioning of land last year already, which we find odd because a church that is based right next to the vacant piece of land has been wanting to purchase the land since 1994, but the City refused point blank,” she said.
“We have so many questions… what do they [the City] plan to build on this piece of land? The piece of land was a dump site and the City never bothered to clean it. The community took the initiative to clean it up and volunteered to turn it into a peace garden. Why are they showing interest now that we’ve cleaned up the place,” she questioned.
Salie said they had an official inauguration of the garden on Youth Day which McKenzie, as well as other members of the community, attended to bless the garden with prayers, however McKenzie denied this.
According to City’s spokesperson, Luthando Tyhalibongo, the authority to commence with a public-participation process was granted on April 6, 2018.
“There is no record of an approval being granted for the use of the property for park purposes.”
Residents have now embarked on a petition to save their peace garden and urgently call on the City of Cape Town to stop this auction.