BREAKING: IY leadership issues statement

In a media statement released late on Wednesday, the leadership of Imizamo Yethu disclosed the reasons for the protests in Hout Bay this week.

The leaders had met at the Hout Bay Sports Complex earlier.

The first reason, the statement said, was that fire victims being accommodated on the sports field were supposed to have been relocated back to the Imizamo Yethu within three months, and they had no information on how much longer they would have to be accommodated at the complex.

Secondly, they said there had been changes to the superblocking plans without proper consultation with community leaders. They also made mention of the fact that on June 1 a court order had been granted to the City against those residents opposed to the superblocking process, and this was in the City’s favour.

In addition, there was a sense of uncertainty among residents about the permanent relocation area they would eventually move back into.
As had been stated before, residents complained that the TDA shacks on the sports field frequently flooded and there was no electricity. As a result, these residents were forced to seek alternative accommodation.

“The tipping point,” the leaders said, “was when the City wanted to build 6m x 3m temporary structures with cement flooring and electricity for 17 families relocated from the Forestry section of Imizamo Yethu.”

These families would be provided amenities, yet they would be situated right next door to residents living in 3m x3m shacks which had no services or solid foundation.

“History has taught is that temporary relocation areas become a permanent housing solution for our community and our fear is that the current inhumane conditions will become permanent.”

The leadership added that it condemned “in the strongest possible terms” all forms of violence that occurred as a result of the protests and distanced itself from vandalism and destruction of property.

The protests we supported as leaders were peaceful.

(But) we call on the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the manner in which the Public Order Policing unit and Metro police conducted themselves and we will engage the commission’s provincial commissioner, Chris Nissen on this. We also extend our condolences to the family of Songezo Ndude who passed away as a result of injuries he sustained during the protests, and we welcome the Ipid investigation into his death.”

* This article has been updated.