The District Six Working Committee (D6WC) plans to protest outside a claimants meeting called by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform in District Six this weekend. The committee has expressed their dismay that the meeting would be limited to those who lodged claims before 1998. The meeting will be attended by both Western Cape premier, Helen Zille, and City of Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille, and will focus on providing feedback on the current progress of the rebuilding of District Six. However, the meeting will not be open to new claimants or any of the respective reference groups.
D6WC Chairperson Shaheed Ajam, was appalled by the department’s decision to limit the meeting to old claimants, accused them of trying to gentrify the District Six area.
“What is the point of giving us reference numbers now. What is the point of having told us for one year that you will include us in every consultation and that you will include us in the further development of District Six,” he said.
Ajam also took aim at the proposed development of two student residences in the area, by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). He claimed the development was being done in collaboration with the department, accusing them of adding insult to injury, barely three months after the reopening of the claims process.
He accused the local government, Minister Gugile Nkwinti, and the District Six Reference Group and District Six Working Forum, as playing a role in allowing the development to go ahead.
Ajam called on the Reference Group and D6 Forum, as well as those currently living in the District Six area, not to desert the cause for true restitution.
“We know that we were dispossessed and forcibly removed from District Six. We know that CPUT was built for white students under the Apartheid rule, and we know that they have to give an account, and sit down with us,” he said.
The D6WC are looking to host a picket outside City Hall, where the meeting is scheduled to take place, on Saturday morning. Ajam urged the community to come out in their thousands, and show the same support as was seen at the recent NC4P march for Gaza.
“They are not going to exclude us from this process we need to be in that meeting. We need to know what is happening,” he said.
The feedback meeting will take place this coming Saturday at the City Hall, starting from 11am. All attendees will have been contacted by the department to register for the event. Claimants are expected to bring along a valid I.D document to the meeting. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)