Mayor furthers apartheid spatial planning with Wolwerivier relocation plan for Bromwell Street – 26 Jan 2017
On 7 September last year, Mayor Patricia de Lille came to visit us at our homes in Bromwell Street to discuss the Woodstock Hub’s plans to evict us. We requested that she provide us with a piece of vacant, City-owned land. There is such a piece of land in Bromwell Street.
We asked whether the City could provide us with containers. That is what the City often does on the Cape Flats when it is renovating council flats. We have seen these containers – they have two bedrooms, a small kitchen and a shower. The Mayor said that she would look into it.
We are disappointed that the Mayor has not come to report back to us. Instead, we met with officials from the City’s Human Settlements office who said that we should apply for permanent Social Housing. Many of us do not qualify according to the Social Housing criteria.
Last week the Mayor announced a new Mayoral Committee which aims to reverse apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town. But, this week the Mayor and her lawyers are preparing argue in court that Bromwell Street’s residents, those who do not qualify for Social Housing, should be moved to Wolwerivier. Wolwerivier is an isolated settlement 30 kms north of the city centre. It represents apartheid spatial planning in the 21st century.
Late last year, a group of us visited Wolwerivier. What we found there was truly shocking. Wolwerivier is on a farm in the middle of the bush. There are no work opportunities, schools, shops or healthcare facilities there. Many of us work, go to school and attend hospitals near the city.
We also heard that there are poisonous snakes, and that it took three days for an ambulance to come when one of the residents was bitten.
We are worried about safety because of conflicts in the community.
We cannot survive in a place like Wolwerivier.
It is now four days until our court date. We request that the Mayor and her lawyers do more to find a better solution so that we can remain in the city, near our jobs, schools, hospitals and shops.
But, no matter the outcome of the court case, we say very firmly today that no resident from Bromwell Street will ever move to Wolwerivier. We cannot allow the Mayor to make an example of us, one which could lead to other forced removals from city to Wolwerivier. We will
continue to fight for our right, and for the rights of other residents, to remain in the city.