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Claims of alleged gentrification and evictions by Salt River residents leveled against the City of Cape Town (COCT) have been growing

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By Kouthar Sambo

Claims of alleged gentrification and evictions by Salt River residents leveled against the City of Cape Town (COCT) have been growing.

Speaking on VOC’s PM Drive show on Wednesday, an attorney at the activist organisation and law centre, Ndifuna Ukwazi, Dr. Jonty Cogger, highlighted the importance of understanding the term, “gentrification.”

The clarification of the term comes after it was discovered that some situations may generally lack an understanding of what constitutes gentrification, versus a lack of education provided to individuals on what protocols to follow involving the COCT and property at large.

Irrespective of this, VOC News noted the overwhelming trend in well-located areas such as Bo-Kaap, Woodstock, Observatory, and Salt River, to name a few.

“Gentrification is a phenomenon where there’s a rise in property prices in historically mixed-income, predominantly the coloured working-class areas,” simplified Cogger.

“Places like the Cape Town City Centre would become more expensive, and property investors look out for lucrative opportunities in closer, central neighbourhoods, even though this process is slow.”

He further deemed Bo-Kaap a prominent example of gentrification as its residents took steps to stop the process by blocking further developments.

“A few years ago, I represented five families living on Goldsmith Street in Salt River whose rent went up 40% overnight. Just last week, Ndifuna Ukwazi consulted with a woman whose rent has gone up 80% – and this is clear evidence of property owners trying to latch onto increasing investment trends,” detailed Cogger.

But what recourse is available for residents battling with situations of this nature?

Cogger made reference to the current matter at hand, involving the numerous Salt River residents alleging eviction.

“What is interesting in this case, is that the City has a program which involves the transfer of ownership of council houses to its tenants. However, the location of those council houses is located on the periphery in places like the Cape Flats.”

Furthermore, he said for council houses located in lucrative areas, the City has decided to extract the value and profit fund those properties rather than transferring them to long-standing tenants.

“There are organisations such as Ndifuna Ukwazi, which assist people in matters of this nature, and so it is always worth challenging such situations – why is it their fault for living in a well-located area, now they should be punished?” he challenged.

*VOC News has contacted the City of Cape Town, which intends to dispose of these properties, but they have declined to come onto the VOC airwaves. However, for further context, the City has shared its perspective in the initial article, which can be seen at: https://rb.gy/ddzoac.

Photo: Future Cape Town


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