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The DA’s newly elected Hout Bay leader, Marga Haywood, this week said the only solution to overcrowding issues in Hout Bay is to ‘forcibly move people”.
Barely one week after Haywood’s decisive victory over the ANC in a by-election held in Hout Bay, she said: ‘At the moment Hout Bay is in a big mess and the only solution I see is that people are removed from here—even if it is against their will.
‘There simply is no more land available or enough land for all the people who have moved into Imizamo Yethu.
‘Imizamo Yethu was declared a health disaster last year.
Ward 74 includes Hout Bay, Camps Bay, Llundudno and Clifton, which are some of the most affluent areas in Cape Town. Land prices here generally range between R1,3-million and R3,5-million.
An estimated 43 000 people live in Hout Bay: 8 000 in the coloured area of Hangberg, and between 18 000 and 20 000 in Imizamo Yethu. Hout Bay is one of the few parts of the country where white and black population figures are close to equal, which is one of the reasons why Haywood views this DA win as a ‘massive victory” for the party.
‘It sends a strong message that black and coloured people here are not satisfied with the ANC’s service delivery and that the majority of people want the DA to continue leading the city.”
The shortage of land for blacks and coloureds in Hout Bay has been a contentious issue for many years. Two years ago, the high court ruled in favour of an application brought by the white ratepayers’ association and Sinethemba Civic Association to stop the expansion of Imizamo Yethu on an undeveloped 16ha piece of council-owned land in the heart of Hout Bay. The land is still lying empty.
More than 90% of all the residents in Imizamo Yethu live in shacks, as do half of the 8 000 coloured residents of Hangberg.
Haywood’s proposed removal of people will not only affect the homeless in Imizamo Yethu, but also more than 4 000 people living in plastic and wooden shacks in the coloured township of Hangberg. The DA got a massive boost from the Hangberg community during this by-election, tripling its support.
During the campaign, the DA distributed pamphlets to residents showing pictures of how blacks in Imizamo Yethu have houses, electricity and tarred roads. The pamphlet doesn’t say that the houses were built by a private philanthropist.
Helen Zille, Cape Town city mayor and DA deputy chairperson, said ‘forced removals—removals against people’s will—is definitely not DA-policy, but we also cannot allow people to live in health-hazardous conditions. We’re faced with a very serious dilemma here. A large part of the Imizamo Yethu community is breaking every health law in this country. Soon we’ll have a cholera breakout like in Delmas,” she said.
Zille added: ‘If you know a way to put in desperately needed services into that community, where you literally can’t walk between some shacks and where raw sewage is running down the road, without moving people, please let me know how to do it.”
Meanwhile, residents in Imizamo Yethu say they will ‘not even discuss forced removals”. Anges Dama, a mother of four, said: ‘White people develop new pieces of land and build massive houses with mountain and sea views in Hout Bay every day. We have no say about their developments and houses, but they want to tell us where we can live and what our houses can look like. We’re sick and tired of this. I’ve lived here for 33 years and I will not be moved to Happy Valley or Mitchell’s Plain or wherever. Hout Bay is my home,” she said.
Community leader Timothy Jacobs said there will be ‘war” before people move. ‘Our people will not move. Our parents were forcibly removed from what is today the white Hout Bay. Now people in shacks have to move again. It will not happen. Black and coloured people have access to only 4% of land in Hout Bay. The city must find a solution here in Hout Bay to deal with the housing shortages. There’ll be war before we move,” Jacobs said.
Haywood says that that she doesn’t understand why people would want to live in Imizamo Yethu or Hangberg, where there are ‘no houses, no schools, no water, no jobs and no electricity. If people want to come to Cape Town, they have to be grateful to take land where it’s available—and there is no more land in Hout Bay. The migration to Hout Bay is out of proportion to the rest of Cape Town and we have severe geographical limits here,” she said.
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