A newly formed group calling itself the Hout Bay Leadership Forum (HBLF), but with members affiliated to the ANC and EFF, has threatened to shut down Hout Bay ahead of the Two Oceans Marathon.
The HBLF held a media briefing, on Tuesday, warning of a “shutdown of Hout Bay” if the City didn’t address its grievances over what it said were failed promises to improve housing, services and living conditions in poor communities.
The group called for an urgent meeting with mayor Dan Plato.
HBLF member Ziyanda Phandle, who was identified as deputy secretary of the ANC’s Hout Bay branch in a 2017 TimesLIVE article, said poor delivery had been tolerated for long enough.
“The communities of the Harbour and of Imizamo Yethu have been very patient in their dealings with the City of Cape Town, but very little of what has been promised and what was agreed to has been executed. Both communities have been waiting patiently for service upgrades and housing that, to date, have not materialised.’’
The HBLF claims to promote “keeping the peace” in Hout Bay, but said it couldn’t guarantee that much longer.
Another HBLF member, Roscoe Jacobs, from the ANC Youth League, said: “People forget how things happen and why our communities head to the streets in protest. There are many issues from previous protests that are unresolved. Writing letters to City of Cape Town has never helped. They simply ignore our memorandums and correspondence. Our communities are becoming impatient with City of Cape Town, and soon that impatience will turn into rage which will spill into Hout Bay’s streets.”
HBLF member Mkhululi Markiss Ndude, an EFF member, said that should a protest erupt before the weekend, runners in Saturday’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon should take caution.
“The Hout Bay Shutdown will show everyone the ‘real’ Hout Bay, not the fairy tale City officials are selling tourists. If people choose to run through our village, we cannot guarantee anyone’s safety.”
The HBLF’s Lee Smith, who claims to be unaffiliated to a political party, said: “We want to know why there has been practically no improvement in Imizamo Yehthu since the 2017 fire that left 39 families displaced. Or why we are no closer to progress today than in 2010 when families were taken from their homes. People are living in inhumane conditions – pets in the valley have better living conditions than people in Hangberg and IY.”
The group said its members might have had their differences in the past but they were now speaking with on voice.
Mr Smith accused Hout Bay ward councillor Roberto Quintas of trying”to find friction between our communities and play on it”.
Mr Quintas told the Sentinel News that threats against the residents and Two Oceans runners would not be taken lightly. He denied claims that he had tried to cause friction between communities, and he called on the HBLF to back up its allegations with evidence.
He said “any further negative media around Hout Bay” would harm the tourism and economic opportunities so many depended on.
He said all communities received “equal measures of attention” and “the desire for an inclusive and integrated Hout Bay is something which guides much of our policy”.There were HBLF members who were trying to undo his “upliftment” of the village, he said.
“I have attempted on more than one occasion to assist in arranging Heritage Day events for Hout Bay, which showcase all of our communities together, and highlight the vibrant tapestry which makes up Hout Bay. Some of the selfsame leaders of Tuesday’s meeting were part of violent protest action which saw the last attempt having to be cancelled at short notice due to volatility and threats.”
On the housing issues facing Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu, Mr Quintas said progress was being made, albeit slowly due to outside factors.
“The City is currently building homes in Imizamo Yethu, and in the past three years, we handed over 72 housing opportunities. We also earmarked Hangberg for two new housing developments.
“We have struggled with vandalism of builders’ equipment, intermigration of outsiders taking over land set out for Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu residents, and ongoing battles with SANParks to build service roads in certain areas to give construction workers access to the building sites.
“We have to relocate approximately 200 families, and City planning needs to continuously adapt building plans due to rogue housing blocks popping up on the land before anything can be done.”
The HBLF had also accused the City of selling land to foreign investors for estate development, but Mr Quintas said the group had its facts wrong.
“To my knowledge, the work being done on the ‘estate’ in question, where the Lichtenstein Castle and other properties are located, is being done on private land that belongs to several individual private owners, and was not recently sold to a developer by the City.”
An HBLF member who did not want to be named, said a meeting had been scheduled with Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, for yesterday to “present the City with realistic requests”.
The outcome of that meeting was not known at time of going to print.
The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to several requests for comment.