Evicted backyarders demand accommodation from the City

About 50 protestors went to the City of Cape Town's offices and to Parliament demanding affordable and decent houses in the CBD. Photo by Mzi Velapi

Not finding anyone to receive their memorandum at the Civic Centre and at Parliament, the protestors vowed to return in the next few days.

A group of backyarders under the Singabalapha banner protested outside the Cape Town Civic Centre and later Parliament demanding alternative accommodation and that the City should provide “affordable and decent houses in the CBD area”. The group also want the City to provide them with toilets and water. They are among the backyarders from different townships that occupied but were later evicted from a building owned by the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged (CPOA) in Observatory and have been living on the streets for almost two weeks. The building, according to the CPOA, is being demolished because it is structurally not safe and another section of the land around the building has been sold to a private developer.

“We were approached by people from the shelter who were wearing City of Cape Town’s jackets and were offering to place us in shelters as we are living on the streets, but we refused because we want our own houses and they have to be decent and be near the CBD,” said Sinazo Jordaan, one of the community leaders.

“As women we want to have access to toilets and the City has to provide us with water,” said Jordaan.

According to one of the leaders, Lizo Mtimkhulu, they want the City to provide them with accommodation near the city centre.

Outside the Civic Centre, the protestors waited for over an hour only to be told that there was no one to address them as the City had not been made aware of the protest. In an emailed statement, the Member of Mayoral Committee for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said, “The City did not receive prior notification of the march nor was the memorandum addressed to anyone in particular.”

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The protestors then decided to go to Parliament where they also could not get an official to accept their memorandum.

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