IY superblocking upset

Among the demands listed by 2 000 Imizamo Yethu residents opposed to the City’s superblocking scheme is that Loyiso Nkohla, the former Ses’khona People’s Movement “poo flinger” who defected to the DA last year, be removed from any further involvement in the process.

In a memorandum handed over the office of mayor Patricia de Lille, the group, which was ferried in minibus taxis and marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre on Tuesday August 15, stated that Mr Nkohla had threatened to “withhold basic services if we do not do as he says”.

Mr Nkohla was appointed a City community liaison officer earlier this year, but according to well-placed City sources, he is now essentially running the entire superblocking operation.
Superblocking involves areas being systemically blocked off to allow for the building of roads and the installation of basic services

Questions are being asked by some City officials as to why he appears to enjoy free reign in Imizamo Yethu, apparently with the full blessing of the mayor, whose own motivations are also being brought into question by them.

Some community leaders, like Clifford Nogwavu, have stated they believe community leaders who worked with the City, and in particular Mr Nkohla, stood to gain by manipulating the placement of housing beneficiaries.
Mr Nkohla did not wish to comment on the allegations.

Last week, the Sentinel reported on allegations that the City wanted to buy properties in Hughenden and surrounds and that

Ms De Lille planned to extend Imizamo Yethu by removing the heritage status of a UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) heritage site above the Meadows.

However, according to our well-placed sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, a number of other factors are also coming into play in respect of land management both in Hout Bay and the City.

* After the March fire, the mayor scuttled the enforcement of an interdict against residents refusing to move by instructing the City’s anti-land invasion contractors, the Red Ants, to leave Imizamo Yethu and stop removal of all newly built structures.

The mayor requested that Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers instead be recruited from the area to perform the work of a specialised anti-land invasion entity.

This stalled the removal of structures in Dontse Yakhe leading to a mushrooming of shacks there.

* There is mounting pressure from both the mayor and national government’s Housing Development Authority to turn the AstroTurf sports field into a temporary relocation area (TRA).

“The question that needs to be asked is if large parts of Dontse Yakhe are built up with structures, why are there also two TRAs that are filled to capacity? It is evident that either Dontse Yakhe or the two TRAs have been occupied by people who were not affected by the fire and who potentially never resided in IY,” one source said.

“The City’s verification data would have to be audited to obtain the facts. It is very possible that the same so-called ‘landlords’ who have been in negotiations with the mayor, and whom protesters were protesting against, have been enhancing their own rental stock at the expense of the City and the Hout Bay community.”

The Sentinel sent queries on these claims to Ms De Lille’s spokeswoman, Zara Nicholson, shortly after 8pm on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Ms Nicholson acknowledged that she had received them, but no answers had been forthcoming by the time this edition went to print.

The memorandum from the anti-superblocking residents – those living in the areas known as the Shooting Range, Ibhayi, Dontse Yakhe and Petersen – also demanded that basic services such as water, toilets and electricity, be provided within eight weeks.

The residents also wanted to talk “in a constructive way” about improving these areas, as superblocking was not viewed as the correct method.

“The City officials must also recognise the community spokespersons that were nominated by the people at large,” they said.

They reminded the mayor that an April 3 memorandum of understanding said the community would elect their own representatives to provide information.

The aggrieved residents also found it “strange” that their “African brothers” were referred to as illegal foreigners in that document when they were in fact not.

They demanded that in 36 months they would like to see “our lives changed for the better” .

Meanwhile, the Hout Bay Residents’ Forum, formed to effectively represent all residents of Hout Bay in matters such as urbanisation, housing, environmental and security issues, has released its manifesto, saying it plans to:

* Address the land issues in Hout Bay with regard to the planned expansion and development of Imizamo Yethu, Dontse Yakhe and other areas that have been earmarked for extended development by council.

* Change the current development plans to have Imizamo Yethu and Dontsa Yakhe removed from the old LEFTE (Less Formal Township Development Act) and placed under formal SPLUMA (Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act) town planning legislation, as well as enforce proper land development legislation and law enforcement to prevent the erection of illegal building and additional shacks in areas that are unsuitable.

* Plan for sustainable growth of Imizamo Yethu over the next five to 10 years.

* Pressure the City/law enforcement to “do its job” to prevent any and all illegal building densification between buildings so that past disasters are not again repeated.

* Get the City to commit to daily inspections and enforcement.

* Engage with representatives from all areas around open community forums to provide equal and fair priced housing.

* Confirm what further resources – schools, law enforcement, clinics, etc – are being allocated to Hout Bay to accommodate the needs of its rapidly expanding population.

* Ensure the safety and security of all residents in Hout Bay.

* Encourage council to provide sustainable platforms for the development and growth of tourism in Hout Bay.

* Provide ongoing stability in the community through dialogue and interaction with all leaders in Hout Bay.

Brett Nussey, who is driving the forum, called for greater transparency from the City in terms of its plans for land and housing in Hout Bay.