Youth activist gets feedback from presidency

Hangberg youth activist, Roscoe Jacobs.

Just less than a month after Roscoe Jacobs suspended his hunger strike, the Hangberg youth activist says his interactions with various government agencies have been productive.

Mr Jacobs had implored President Cyril Ramaphosa to help the Hangberg community find land for decent housing (“Hangberg youth activist on hunger strike,” Sentinel, July 6) and stopped his hunger strike on July 7 after representatives from the presidency addressed his concerns.

“There has been good communication from the presidency and various departments,” Mr Jacobs said.

President Ramaphosa’s political adviser, Steyn Speed, told Mr Jacobs that he had prepared a report on his meeting with him on July 9 for the president and other colleagues.

“We had a discussion with the Department of Human Settlements on the way forward. We are making two recommendations,” Mr Speed said.

The first covers the immediate challenges in Hout Bay. “(We will) establish an intergovernmental team, convened by the national Department of Human Settlements, including representa-
tives from the departments of COGTA (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs), Public Works, Environmental Affairs and others as required. Representatives from the provincial government and City of Cape Town would
also be invited to be part of the team.

“The team, which would initially be responsible for developing a proposal and implementation plan, would report to the presidency on a bi-monthly basis,” Mr Steyn said.

The second recommendation deals with broader challenges of urban spatial development.

“(We would) consider a mechanism located in the presidency or a suitable national department to develop an approach to the coordination of urban spatial development, which would be able to address such issues in the future in a systematic manner. This recommendation still needs to be canvassed among all the relevant role-players in government, both on whether it is the correct approach and what its modalities would be.”

Mr Speed said he was awaiting a response from his principals on those two recommendations.

“We would like to arrange a detailed debriefing meeting with you (for both the presidency and Human Settlements) when we return to Cape Town for the new parliamentary session, which should be around mid-August,” he told Mr Jacobs.

Mr Jacobs has also been engaging officials from the Housing Development Agency (HDA), which is identifying land for housing in Hout Bay.

Both Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu form part of these discussions.

Following his seven-day protest action, Mr Jacobs set his sights on the City of Cape Town and its alleged failure to move ahead with Phase 2 of the Hangberg housing project.

He had threatened to occupy that land from Wednesday August 1 unless the City gave the project the green light. But it was passed
by all political parties at a City council meeting last Thursday July 26.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said Phase 1 included the construction of the Seaview community residential units (CRUs) at the harbour’s edge.

“In terms of Phase 2, contractors are expected to be appointed by the end of August, after which time we will start formulating the project steering committee,” he said.

Two housing sites will be explored for potential housing: the first is below Sentinel Primary School opposite the Panorama Hills block of flats, and the second is the existing Dallas temporary relocation area site.

“Through consultants, we will do the necessary geographical checks, which will inform the capacity for housing. We will then also determine the typography of the sites,” said Mr Quintas.

Once the project steering committee was in place, it would guide the City on what type of housing was most desired by Hangberg residents, either CRUs or Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing.

On taking office in 2016, Mr Quintas was required to provide a ward plan and vision for the next five years.

“Phase 2 of the Hangberg housing project was among my targets, and I’m happy that I’ve managed to have it approved in my second year in office.”