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Woodlands residents to hold mass meeting on Siqalo

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By Loushe Jordaan

As messages making its rounds on social media stating that Siqalo residents will be relocated to New Woodlands cause great concern, Mitchell’s Plain residents will hold a mass meeting at the New Woodlands Civic Centre tonight in a bid to quell tensions between residents and informal dwellers in Siqalo. According to Shahien Van Nelson, chairperson of the New Woodlands Residents Association, there has been no indication that Siqalo residents will be moved to a vacant piece of land that has been identified for the Kosovo informal settlements.

“I can safely say that Siqalo residents will not be moved to New Woodlands. Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela (Human Settlements MEC) said that there was a 52 hectare land allocated for the balance of Kosovo and Siqalo residents, so it is impossible for Siqalo residents to be moved to New Woodlands as we only have about 10 hectares,” said Nelson.

He added: “The meeting tonight is about New Woodlands only, we will not entertain any other issues.”

Kosovo informal settlement, located in the Philippi CBD node, is one of the densest settlements in Cape Town. The settlement is located on 28,64 hectares of partly City-owned/ partly private-owned land with a population density of 212 dwelling units per hectare. Backyarders of the neighbouring Samora Machel settlement occupied the land in 1999 after years of paying high rentals to the owners of formal houses. Over the past 18 years the settlement has experienced an intensification of newly built dwellings.

According to Nelson, people are circulating fake messages to add fuel to the fire. The meeting set for tonight is to address issues that resident of New Woodlands have and has nothing to do with the protest action that erupted last week.

“There are rogue elements wanting to take advantage of these kind of situations. We need to prevent this,” he said.

“People need to stop circulating these messages. These messages are creating unnecessary panic in our community and worsening the problem.”

The meeting is set to take place New Woodlands civic centre tonight at 7:30pm. VOC

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