From the news desk

Presidency responds to Hangberg youth activist on hunger strike

The presidency on Saturday responded to Hangberg resident and youth activist, Roscoe Jacobs, who has recently embarked on a Hunger Strike to raise awareness about the housing needs in his community. This after President Cyril Ramaphosa failed to respond to his open letter, which was sent on June 17 this year, in which he outlined the struggle for land and adequate housing by residents in Hout Bay.

Only surviving on fluids for a seventh day, Jacobs said his hunger strike is aimed at addressing the lack of formal housing within his community, which has led to the death and displacement of residents.

“This morning I received a call from one of the president’s advisors, a Mr Speer. He indicated that they are willing to meet on Monday. The presidency and the president are obviously concerned about my health,” Jacobs stated.

Jacobs said he has agreed to suspend the hunger strike if the presidency provides written proof that it will engage with the community on Monday.

“I’ve indicated that I’m willing to suspend the hunger strike only on condition that the meeting that they are talking about on Monday is communicated to me in a written form via an email or a letter, so that I have proof that they are willing to engage. Because, ultimately that is what [the hunger strike] was about,” he added.

He further thanked the broader community for its continued support of his strike action.

Having embarked on his strike outside the Hangberg sports centre, Jacobs has forgone any necessities and luxuries of staying in his own home.

Jacobs said community members have provided him with water and firewood.

“I am very grateful for the support from far and near. I want to thank the Muslim community and the MJC [Muslim Judicial Council] for their support, their solidarity and their commitment to be there if and when they are needed to assist in any way.

“I have not eaten for seven days. I feel dizzy, I get headaches and I am tired, [but] I am going on because I feel that what I am doing is the right thing.”

Jacobs regularly shares updates on his hunger strike on social media: 

Posted by Roscoe Gabriel Jacobs on Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Jacobs has urged government officials to engage with residents on the issue of housing concerns and to stop delaying the housing process.

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