Khayelitsha housing protesters close four roads

Protesters say they are being overlooked for housing

By Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

3 March 2022

Protesters from six informal settlements took to the streets on Thursday to demand housing. They say they are being overlooked when the City of Cape Town allocates houses. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Residents from six informal settlements in Khayelitsha closed four main roads in Cape Town on Thursday in a protest over housing.

The protesters, from informal settlements around Victoria Mxenge Drive, closed Mew Way, Pama, Ntantazo and Bangiso roads with rocks, trees and burning tyres accusing the City of Cape Town of forgetting about them when it allocates houses.

Community leader Siphelele Runqu said the protesters had heard that the City was planning to move families living on the Metrorail line in Philippi to proper housing. He said the City was ignoring people who had been living in informal settlements for more than 15 years.

“We are not saying that they must not move those people, but they must consider us first. And what frustrates us mostly is that they want to take the land they promised us and give it to those people and that is not fair. We have old people staying here, they need proper houses. There are people who live with disabilities here who qualify for RDP houses. Since 2008 they have been promising to build us proper houses but now they are quiet.”

He said protesters wanted Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi to address them.

Another community leader, Monica Gotshana, said they had several meetings with City officials and promises had been made. “In 2008 about 50 old people were identified, and the City promised to move them first to proper houses. The majority of those people are no more, they died waiting for their RDP houses. Some are still here and housing is not saying anything about them. What we are demanding is that when they move those people from the railway line to wherever they must include us,” she said.

Nontsikelelo Mtalana, 61, has been living in S informal settlement since 1993. She said she’s one of the 50 older people who were identified for housing. “I’m losing hope now because we have been waiting but nothing is happening,” she said.

After closing the roads residents marched to the City of Cape Town council offices in Site B.

City of Cape Town official from the Human Settlement Department, Xolani Joja, tried to address the crowd but residents refused to listen to him. They told him to bring Booi.

Ward 91 councillor Thando Mpengezi and ward 93 councillor Thando Pimpi also tried to address residents but the protesters insisted on seeing Booi.

Booi told GroundUp that he had scheduled a meeting with those affected for next week. “It is thus unclear why protests occurred today. However, a City meeting is now also scheduled for tomorrow.”

He said some of the concerns of the protesters seemed to be about a Western Cape government project, not a City project.

“The City also has projects in that greater area and all parties are working together to see how to align the timings and delivery of the different projects. The City will as always communicate directly with residents about projects, progress and updates,” Booi said.