Following recent violent clashes between Parkwood residents and police, ward councillor William John Akim and the sub-council manager, Fred Monk, are expected to inform residents on Wednesday evening about the way forward in addressing their housing concerns. Residents of Parkwood held a symbolic protest on May 19, 2018, in which they erected temporary structures on vacant land that is situated on Prince George Drive in Cape Town. Residents have been calling attention to the living conditions of approximately 1490 backyard dwellers, who currently reside on the premises of rental properties within the area. The protests turned violent when Law Enforcement officers forcibly removed the temporary structures days later.
The head of the Parkwood Backyard Dwellers Association, Domonique Booysen explained that on Saturday residents ceased all protest action in the hopes that the City will consider their grievances.
“[Community leaders] asked them to stop [protesting] while we wait for feedback from the City of Cape Town. We promised [residents] that on Wednesday we will give them feedback on the way forward,” Booysen confirmed.
Booysen further noted that the 25 protesters who were arrested during the clashes with officers have been released on bail. They are expected to appear in court on the 17 and 18 of June.
The protesters employed the services of a private lawyer who Booysen said will charge an estimated fee of R2000 per day.
“We required two days to have their hearings; on Friday, ten protesters appeared and the others appeared on Monday.
“We also need funds to pay the lawyers for the next appearance,” he stated.
According to Booysen, residents have threatened to continue protesting if City officials fail to respond to their demands for housing and service delivery.
Many residents said that they have been on the housing list for 15 years.
He said community leaders have not called for more protest action and are urging officials to provide residents with clarity on the housing issue.
“The City must not blame the leaders, because we the leaders like peaceful protests, but we can’t control the protesters. They want their demands [heard]. So, tonight if the councillor is not going to speak to their demands then we wash our hands of the violence,” Booysen said.
With speculation that a so-called “third force” has been behind the recent unrest within Cape Flats communities, Booysen asserted that the Parkwood protest was not politically motivated.
“The City is blaming the [community] leaders. [The City] said there is a political party behind the protest. But, there is no political party behind it. The only problem we have is that we want houses.”
The meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 30 May 2018, at 18h45 in Alida Court in Walmer Road, Parkwood.