Dunoon pro­test­ers set sights on Killarney track

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SIBONGAKONKE MAMA

DUNOON res­i­dents have their sights set on the Killarney race­track land, and have given the city 21 days to give them per­mis­sion to move on to it, or to find them al­ter­na­tive land.

This lat­est threat was is­sued yes­ter­day morn­ing af­ter vi­o­lent clashes be­tween pro­test­ers from the Dunoon in­for­mal set­tle­ment and po­lice had forced au­thor­i­ties to close the N7 and Pots­dam roads.

Thou­sands of Dunoon res­i­dents took to the streets, caus­ing traf­fic chaos that saw hun­dreds of Capetonians ar­rive hours late for work.

Po­lice spokesman Cap­tain Fred­er­ick van Wyk said po­lice used rub­ber bul­lets and stun grenades af­ter pro­test­ers had pelted of­fi­cers with stones.

“There have been no ar­rests, but a pub­lic vi­o­lence case has been opened,” he con­firmed last night.

The march, led by the South African National Civic Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Sanco), was to high­light is­sues of hous­ing, san­i­ta­tion, and safety and se­cu­rity, among other con­cerns, said the Sanco sec­re­tary in Ward 104, Bulelwa Mayende.

Mayende ex­plained that res­i­dents be­lieved that the Western Prov­ince Mo­tor Club lease at the race­track was due to ex­pire, and they wanted to be ac­com­mo­dated on the land.

“The Western Prov­ince Mo­tor Club should not have its lease re­newed while we live in less than de­sir­able con­di­tions. We want the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to en­sure that they give us land for hous­ing,” she said.

The com­mu­nity had been wait­ing a decade for de­cent hous­ing, and they were an­gry, Mayende said.

“There is an over­whelm­ing num­ber of peo­ple in this area, and there has been no di­rec­tion re­gard­ing a hous­ing so­lu­tion. There has not even been talk of iden­ti­fy­ing land, and yet there is a track where cars and peo­ple who do not live in this com­mu­nity make a noise for those of us who live here.”

Mayende added that the com­mu­nity had also iden­ti­fied Wol­w­eriv­ier land, near Dunoon, as an­other area where hous­ing could be pro­vided.

Lenox Nogqala, 48, who has been liv­ing in a shack in Dunoon since 2002, said he was sick of wait­ing. “Peo­ple are get­ting houses in other places but we have been ne­glected. I have been forced to keep my two chil­dren back home in the Eastern Cape be­cause my home is not suit­able for us all.”

Ward coun­cil­lor Luba­balo Make­leni said the area was a “time bomb”, adding: “The com­mu­nity has been dis­cussing th­ese is­sues – hous­ing, san­i­ta­tion, crime, safety and se­cu­rity, sports and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties – for a long time, but the pend­ing evic­tion or­der for res­i­dents of the Siyahlala in­for­mal set­tle­ment and a can­celled meet­ing by the mayor trig­gered the protest.”

The city would have to ex­plain to the com­mu­nity why they could not oc­cupy the Killarney race­track land.

“As coun­cil­lors we keep be­ing asked that ques­tion, but we do not have the an­swers,” Make­leni said.

Western Prov­ince Mo­tor Club spokesman Adrian Pheif­fer said, how­ever, that their lease was not set to ex­pire any time soon. “We have an­other 12 years to go. I have no idea where peo­ple could have got­ten that idea from. It has never been dis­cussed, and the coun­cil is well aware of how much time we have,” he said, adding that the club was ne­go­ti­at­ing a re­newal of its lease.

“The land is not about to be avail­able any time soon, def­i­nitely not. We have been at Killarney since 1949. When we moved in there it was dirt and bush, we built it up since then. There was no­body in Ta­ble View, Ta­ble View hardly ex­isted then. That’s why we think we are en­ti­tled to re­main there,” Pheif­fer said.

Tan­deka Gqada, the city’s mayco mem­ber for Hu­man Set­tle­ments, said her of­fice was not aware of the im­mi­nent ex­piry of the lease.

The city was, how­ever, con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous op­tions con­cern­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of pock­ets of land around Dunoon.

“Al­though there are no new hous­ing projects at Dunoon, mainly be­cause of scarcity of land, the city’s hu­man set­tle­ments direc­torate has sev­eral ‘up­grad­ing of in­for­mal set­tle­ments pro­gramme’ projects that are listed. Doorn­bach, which is in Dunoon, is men­tioned in the In­te­grated De­vel­op­ment Plan doc­u­ment,” Gqada said, adding that Killarney and Wol­w­eriv­ier were not be­ing con­sid­ered for hous­ing.

PIC­TURE: CINDY WAXA

LAND THREAT: Hun­dreds of pro­test­ers from the Dunoon in­for­mal set­tle­ment on the march yes­ter­day morn­ing.

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