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‘We are tired of empty promises’: Hangberg residents

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Small scale fisherman in Hangberg feel marginalised as by national government, who they claim have failed to fulfil promises over fishing permits. Many angered residents gathered at the local community hall to meet with the department of fisheries officials but the officials postponed the meeting to Sunday just two hours before proceedings. Residents got more tempered as they watched a video of a teen been shot with a rubber bullet in a protest earlier this week.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss problems faced by the local fishing industry as well as the housing issues in the area. VOC News was in attendance to listen to some of the residents’ concerns.

“They think nothing of us and now they say we resolve with violence. What must we do if our houses are in jeopardy, our children are shot down in the streets,” said concerned residents.

The secretary of the Hout Bay Civic Association Roscoe Jacobs explained how the demonstrated initiated.

“On the 18th august there was the first initial protest where women in the community took to the streets peacefully to raise their concerns pertaining the city’s failure in relation to service delivery,” said Jacobs.

Protesters also expressed rage over the teenage boy that was shot in the mouth with a rubber bullet by police in Wednesday’s protest. They said they are losing trust in police. The great amount of local fishermen and women in attendance also expressed their concerns facing the local fishing industry.

“We are still fighting today. My children are also going to have to fight. If we don’t put a stop today, where are we going to stand in 2030,” said local fishermen.

The local fishermen also questioned why they are being marginalised.

“Why are they scaling us down, why are they only giving us 10%? There is no new entrance, why do the big companies still have their rights to go ahead and have 90% of the sea to them? Why must they alone get the benefit?” explained the fishermen.

Jacobs later explained that earlier in the year there were a meeting held in the Mayor’s office with community leaders and the city present. At the meeting there was a commitment made by the Mayor that there would be another meeting on the 28th August to give the community feedback. Come August 28th, the city and the Mayor failed to attend but the meeting went ahead with Councillor Suzette Little present. Little agreed to meet residents on the 11th September but just as before, there were only empty promises.

“21days later on 11th of September the community took to the streets because Suzette Little failed to stick to her commitment of hosting the public meeting,” said Jacobs. VOC

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