Reclaim the City has successfully reclaimed three public buildings in the inner city and surrounds. Ahmed Kathrada House in Green Point, Cissie Gool House, in Woodstock and Irene Grootboom House in the city centre.
Why did Reclaim the City occupy public buildings?
We occupied public buildings because our members are desperate for housing. Because we cannot afford to pay our rents anymore. Because we don’t want to live on the street when we are evicted. Because we don’t want to be sent to relocation camps by the government to be forgotten. Because we are tired of living in distant informal settlements and townships. Because we have little land and no security.
We occupied public buildings because we too have a right to live in the City. A right to walk on the promenade and walk in the gardens. A right to have a view of the sea. A right to raise our children and care for our families in good areas where there are good schools and good hospitals. A right to be close to work and earn an income.We occupied public buildings because the City, the Province and the National Government have failed us. They say we must wait patiently and the land and housing will come. But it never does and most likely it never will unless we organise against the property power that maintains inequality and spatial apartheid.
We occupied public buildings because we want to bring the struggles of poor and working class Black and Coloured people back to the centre of our City, to the seat of power, and to the land that matters.
Altogether, Reclaim the City now provides housing to hundreds of people including many families with children and elderly people. Each occupier or family is allocated a room which they use as their home. Some rooms have toilets and water, other share communal services. Nobody pays rent in the occupations, but leaders do fundraise from time to time to pay for improvements and maintenance in the buildings.