“Activists on controversial Foreshore site ‘resisting property power'”, Cape Times

Francesca Villette, Cape Town, 5 December, 2018

Cape Town – Social housing activists have erected shacks at Site B along the Foreshore to protest what they said was the selling of public land by the City to the highest bidder.

Site B was sold to Growthpoint Properties during an alleged botched auction in 2016, which is alleged to mean a loss of R140 million in public money.

Reclaim the City, the Social Justice Coalition, #UniteBehind Coalition and its supporters yesterday gathered at the site and erected shacks during a peaceful protest.

They said they had visited Growthpoint, City officials and deputy mayor Ian Neilson, who was the Mayco member for finance at the time of the alleged botched auction, but no one had given them answers.

“Property power maintains inequality and keeps the majority of our people dispossessed and homeless. If we are going to build an inclusive, equal and just society and economy, then we must resist property power and public land must be redistributed.

“Like Site B, our best public land is captured by a wealthy few.

“Their homes are made of marble and glass and sit empty most of the year. Our homes are made of wood and zinc on the edge of the city, which are often engulfed by fires that injure us and destroy the little we have.

“Our journey to work every day is unsafe and unreliable on failing trains or taxis where you can get shot.”

Growthpoint asset manager in Cape Town Timothy Irvine said: “We understand the right to protest, but we can’t allow the erection of structures on our property, we need to take it back.”

Civil rights organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi (NU) had picked up that the sale might have been botched.

They said Growthpoint Properties bought the 46 000m² of bulk, or allowed building magnitude at the price of 17 500m², as the latter measurement was stipulated in the city council’s prospectus, as the site’s bulk rights. The cost of the 17 500m² was R86m, amounting to R4 942m2, NU said.

City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo was tasked to open a forensic investigation.

Cape Times