Al Jama-ah political party leader Councillor Ganief Hendricks says the privatization of local facilities will restrict the community’s access to the Good Hope Centre. He was speaking after a city council caucus debate ended with majority siding with the idea to transformed facility into a film studio.
Hendricks says the City of Cape Town’s decision to hire out the venue to a film company has caused a restriction on public access to the centre.
The facility was home to the Cape Malay Choir board and factory workers union for its annual events.
“This was a unifying venue for so many communities and it is like someone is trying to divide the Cape Town community,” says Hendricks.
The decision came about due to a concern that the City had allowed the building to be neglected.
Residents formed a committee aimed at demanding the City repair the building.
The committee opposed the privatisation of the centre and urged for it to remain “Ouma se hoed”, the playground of the community. Hendricks claims the City is dividing the community with the privatisation of local resources.
“The Good Hope Centre should not be privatised but should be accessible to the community. This place was home to rich and poor uniting people. How can they take this away from the people,” said Hendricks.
He added that although the City will be leasing the venue to production companies for a year it is allowing local resources to be controlled by ‘elitests’ as one of the biggest film companies were located within poor communities like Macassar.
“By taking this away from the community and giving it to wealthy the poor are suffering. They are destroying the culture of a community,” says Hendricks.
The City of Cape Town mayoral committee member Gareth Bloor says that the centre will be leased to a film studio. Bloor said the studio blocked off the facility and took over the rates. He added that the main aim of the lease was to maximize economic development through job creation.
“By leasing the venue we will be providing people with employment as the unemployment rate is dire in the community,” says Bloor.
Bloor confirmed that an alternative venue was the Bellville Veldrome and the City Hall. He said the city was still engaging the interested parties to work towards a compromise. VOC