Com­mon oc­cu­piers set for round two

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - JU­NIOR BESTER

THE RON­DE­BOSCH Com­mon oc­cu­pa­tion ef­fort that raised the hack­les of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, and saw the usu­ally peace­ful green space turned into a bat­tle­ground in Jan­uary, looks set for a sec­ond round.

Con­tro­ver­sial Oc­cupy Ron­de­bosch Com­mon or­gan­iser Mario Wanza, who was ar­rested and re­leased with­out charge on that oc­ca­sion, has re­vealed that he and the group Com­mu­ni­ties for So­cial Change (CSC) are plan­ning to re­turn to host a two-day sum­mit on the com­mon next month.

They are plan­ning on spend­ing June 26 and 27 there to mark 57 years of the Free­dom Char­ter.

He said this week that the aim of the meet­ing would again be to “high­light the need for in­te­gra­tion of rich and poor peo­ple in Cape Town”, and for “job cre­ation and the util­i­sa­tion of ser­vices”.

Those at­tend­ing the sum­mit would be wel­come to bring up other is­sues of con­cern, such as hous­ing, he added.

In Jan­uary, their plans for a peace­ful march to the com­mon went awry when they were met by a huge po­lice con­tin­gent, sprayed with blue dye, ar­rested and thrown into the back of po­lice vans.

All charges were dropped by the city.

But Wanza said they were not go­ing to seek per­mis­sion to march next month – be­cause “it is our con­sti­tu­tional right to protest”. They would, how­ever, sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion “for lo­gis­ti­cal rea­sons”.

“But there will be no dis­cus­sions as to whether we will be do­ing it or not. The ap­pli­ca­tion will just be made to avoid what hap­pened the last time.”

Mean­while, Cape Town Mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille, who dur­ing the last in­ci­dent called Wanza and his sup­port­ers “agents of destruc­tion”, said she had spo­ken to mem­bers of the CSC re­gard­ing their plan.


“I ad­vised them that although it is their con­sti­tu­tional right to protest, they do have to abide by the laws set by the con­sti­tu­tion.”

She added that she was in­vited to the meet­ing, but would at­tend only if all the reg­u­la­tions had been fol­lowed and rel­e­vant safety re­quire­ments met.

She added that she had also given Wanza and the CSC the op­tion of hold­ing their meet­ing at any hall of their choice in Cape Town, free of charge.

Wanza re­sponded that while they were grate­ful for the mayor’s of­fer, they would de­cline the op­tion.

They would in­stead host their meet­ing on Tsui-goab, the name given to the Com­mon, which they “re­named” dur­ing a Khoi cleans­ing cer­e­mony in Fe­bru­ary.

He said the Free­dom Char­ter was drawn up in an open field in Klip­town, Soweto, 57 years ago, “and in hon­our of that we will host our sum­mit in an open field in Cape Town”.

De Lille has said that no mat­ter where the group chooses to meet, she hopes they com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions of the Gath­er­ings Act.



FULL OF FIGHT: Mario Wanza

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