12 May 2016
About 200 residents of Siqalo informal settlement, near Philippi, supported by Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement, marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre today. They want the City to buy the land on which they are living so that it can be adequately serviced.
The protesters say that the owners of the land where Siqalo is situated are willing to sell to the City. “The landowners told us that they are willing to sell the land.The thing is the City of Cape Town is not interested [in] buying the land for us,” said Monwabisi Futshane, who has lived in Siqalo for four years.
“We need better services. We have been engaging with them [the City] about the electricity, the water, the sanitation. The City of Cape Town couldn’t provide those things because they said we are on private land,” said Futshane.
“If you can visit Siqalo, you can see our children are not healthy,” he said. They live in cramped conditions with poor services.
According to Sakhumzi Kakazi, a community leader in Siqalo, the City said the owners of the land didn’t want to sell, but when residents and Ses’Khona approached the owners they heard a different story.
The Siqalo protesters wanted the mayor to address them. Xolani Joja of Ses’Khona said they would not hand over a memorandum, because the City “put them in the bin”.
Instead, they handed over two documents, one on Ross Demolition letterhead stating it was prepared to sell ‘Portion 20 of the farm no 787, Philippi, Cape Division’ (and signed R.W. Ross) and a letter from the attorneys for Lyton Props Twelve CC stating it was prepared to sell the remainder of ‘Portion 5’ of the land. Phumlani Godlo from the mayor’s office received the documents.
Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, told GroundUp that they understood that the owners had communicated with the Western Cape Government but that the City “has not received a letter addressed to it on that topic.”
She said “this matter is still before the court” and “the City is therefore not in a position to comment on issues arising from the court case.”
The protracted court case she refers to concerns the legality of the Siqalo settlement on private land.
Joja said that they would come in numbers to the city centre if they did not receive a response by 2 June.