Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)
Common occupiers set for round two
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.