From the news desk

Reclaim the City vow to continue ‘occupation’

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As part of calls to have the City of Cape Town transform the inner City into an inclusive space, activist movement Reclaim the City over the weekend began occupying abandoned rooms in Woodstock Hospital and Helen Bowden Nursing Home building. In total, 12 activists are occupying the two buildings with some 100 supporters rallying on the outside. Reclaim the City, supported by the NGO Ndifuna Ukwazi, have been campaigning for affordable housing near the CBD for low-income families.

The activists are protesting the Western Cape Government’s sale of the Tafelberg School property following calls for the land to be used for low cost housing. Their other demands are for the provincial government to immediately announce plans and timelines for affordable housing on Helen Bowden, Woodstock Hospital and other well-located public land; and regulate the private sector, protecting tenants and evictees.

Activists protesting outside the Woodstock hospital

“Tafelberg presented an opportunity for the province to desegregate the Cape Town, but instead they went ahead and decided to sell it to a private developer instead of using it for affordable housing,” said Sarita Pillay, a supporter of Reclaim the City and an occupier of the Helen Bowden Nurses Home.

In a statement on Wednesday, the provincial government said it was considering plans to develop the two occupied properties for affordable housing. Nicknamed the Jewel of Granger Bay in government reports, the 30-year-old nursing home is one of the three contested properties and covers an approximate area of 1.4 hectares.

The application for the rezoning of the old Woodstock Hospital and the nurses’ home submitted to the City of Cape Town by provincial government includes a proposal to consolidate and subdivide a section of the property and rezone one of these areas from general residential to general business.

Banners from activists occupying rooms in the hospital

On Monday, the Premier’s office accused Reclaim the City of being less than honest with the public about the extensive affordable housing projects in the pipeline.

“By scrambling to stage pickets at the Waterfront and Woodstock properties, Reclaim the City are trying to claim credit for affordable housing decisions taken by the Western Cape Cabinet. Their call to lawlessness shows that they are not prepared to uphold the law when it doesn’t suit their purpose anymore,” said a statement by the Premier.

Reclaim the City’s occupation is set to continue until the City formally responds or if an eviction notice is served to the occupiers.

“We are calling on Capetonians, people in the City who are tired of segregation who are tired of being treated like second citizens who are tired of the violence and the poor services in their communities who want to have a piece of the beautiful Cape Town and parts of the inner City that should be accessible to all.”

We spoke to supporters of Reclaim the City, this is what they had to say.

In protest of the City's sale of the Tafelberg School property, Reclaim the City is occupying abandoned rooms in the Woodstock Hospital and the Helen Bowden Nurses Home. Currently 12 activist are staging a sit-in in the two buildings, calling on the City to meet their ten demands. The demands include the call for the City to cancel the sale of the Tafelberg property and to provide a timeline for the development of affordable housing on the properties of Helen Bowden Nurses Home and the Woodstock Hospital. Tune into Breakfast Beat at 7:10 tomorrow for an update on the situation. VOC News spoke to supporters of Reclaim the City, this is what they had to say:

Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Monday, 27 March 2017

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