Reclaim the City claims a victory in Tafelberg battle

Sale of Sea Point site to be halted

Photo of Reclaim the City march in Cape Town

Reclaim the City protesters on Long Street in Cape Town yesterday. Photo: Naib Mian

By Naib Mian and Stephanie Kelly

15 April 2016

The transfer of the Tafelberg School property to a new owner will be halted for two weeks, representatives of activist organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU), told supporters of the Reclaim the City campaign at a demonstration in the city yesterday.

The Reclaim the City campaign, which is focused on the need for affordable housing in the area, filed a court interdict on Monday against the Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works and the Premier of the Western Cape. The interdict called for the transfer of the sale of the Tafelberg School site to be halted. Less than two days later, lawyers for the Department of Transport and Public Works contacted NU saying they would not challenge the interdict and would voluntarily halt the transfer of the property pending a review of the decision in court, NU said.

At the rally today, attended by about 50 people, the department accepted a memorandum today written by Reclaim the City supporters.

In this way the memorandum came directly from the people, said Nkosikhona Swaartbooi, an organiser with NU, to the crowd.

Ocean View resident Sharone Daniels, one of the court case applicants, said her family had been forced out of Simon’s Town in 1972 because of apartheid. “We were moved into a dusty place. We’re riddled with crime, violence, shootings,” she said.

Daniels said it took her four hours a day to commute from Ocean View to her city centre job.

If there were affordable housing opportunities available to her in areas such as Sea Point, the journey would be shortened, which would help her financially and allow her to spend more time with her family, she said.

After Reclaim the City supporters were able to share their opinions on the memorandum, Gavin Kode, a deputy director general for the Department of Transport and Public Works, received the memorandum on behalf of Donald Grant, the MEC. Kode said Grant was unable to make it to the rally.

Gavin Silber, a researcher at NU, said Reclaim the City would continue to push for the sale to be deemed unlawful, in which case the campaign would lobby again for affordable housing on the site.

“We will argue that given Cape Town’s housing crisis and expressions of interest from both City and the provincial Human Settlements Department, the site be used predominantly for affordable housing,” he said. “The best use for the site must however be decided through a transparent process of wide meaningful public participation.”