Calls for peace accord to be reviewed

The Hangberg community.

The Hangberg Peace Accord agreement is back in the spotlight with a group of community activists applying to the Western Cape High Court for an order to have the agreement reviewed.

There are also plans to take the City of Cape Town, provincial government, SANParks and the Peace and Mediation Forum (PMF) to court.

Community activist Roscoe Jacobs confirmed that they had filed papers at the court but were struggling to secure legal representation.

“Proceedings will be David versus Goliath as the community takes the City to task for failing to deliver on its commitments to the Hangberg Peace Accord – in so doing violating a high court order and being in contempt of court,” Mr Jacobs said.

The first hearing was due to take place on Tuesday October 1 but was postponed.

In 2011, the City, provincial government and SANParks, along with the PMF, signed a peace accord agreement, stating that nobody would be allowed to build or rebuild homes above or on the fire break.

In return, the City would then provide houses for those who already lived there at the time of the large uprising on September 21 in 2010, which saw the removal of about 30 houses.

The accord became an order of the court in October 2011 following months of negotiations.

At least three people lost an eye each during clashes when authorities tried to evict people who had erected shacks in the fire break on the slope of the Sentinel.

According to Mr Jacobs, the Hangberg community’s dissatisfaction is the direct result of the City’s alleged failure to deliver on housing commitments set out in the agreement signed by the residents of Hangberg and the City in 2010.

In a statement, Mr Jacobs said: “Community activists call on the City to halt all evictions, the building of the electricity depot and lease applications of City owned land in the community. The Mayor to hold a urgent public meeting in the community of Hangberg. Activist will seek a legal opinion and seek to open a case against the City for contravening the High Court order.”

The PMF’s spokesperson, Warren Abrahams, confirmed that they had received a “Notice of Motion” and are aware that members of the Hangberg community was in the process of applying to the High Court to have the agreement reviewed.

“We are in the process of legal consult and will respond appropriately as soon as we have all the additional information available.

“There were no dates attached to the Notice of Motion for the Respondents to appear at High Court and we await the outcome of their Application to Review the Court Order before the Honourable Judge of the High Court.”

Until the PMF receives a summons or notice to appear in court, Mr Abrahams said they were not required to attend the High Court hearing.

“We were also advised that national, provincial and local government did not receive the Notice of Motion and no one signed as proxy that it was received,” he said.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas did not want to share much details around a matter that is before the High Court, but was aware of the “pressure group within the Hangberg” community, approaching and applying with the courts to have this agreement reviewed, amended or overturned.

“The pressure group, which is led by community representatives who largely represent those who engage in violent protest, have a legal right to approach the court with their request.

“Ultimately, the rule of law and the processes of the courts must follow their course and the judge will decide on the matter and possible ways forward according to his timelines,” Mr Quintas said.