STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, COUNCILLOR BENEDICTA VAN MINNEN
The City of Cape Town condemns in the strongest possible terms the violent protests in Langa which are affecting the lives of law-abiding residents in the area, as well as commuters. Read more below:
The protest today, led by a group with whom the City has been engaging, is affecting service delivery and the ability of the community at large to perform their daily responsibilities in a safe manner.
The City has had to suspend refuse removal services due to protest action and subsequent road closures in and out of Langa. We will endeavour to attend to any backlog once the situation normalises and it is safe to do so. In the interim, residents should please keep their bins inside their properties until the roads have reopened.A strong City Law Enforcement presence is being maintained in the area and the South African Police Service has arrested 18 protestors.
This scale of violence and destructive behaviour will simply not be tolerated.
The group is essentially asking the City to prioritise their interests ahead of others in a similar situation. They have demanded further upgrades to the hostels in Langa. The City has explained that Langa has already benefitted from the conversion of some of the hostels into family units as well as the completion of Phase 1 of the Langa Hostels Community Residential Units (i.e. Hamilton Naki Square), with Phase 2 on its way.
To date, 463 families who were living in the New Flats and Special Quarters hostels and in the Siyahlala informal settlement in Langa have benefitted from this redress programme and moved into their homes in December 2015. This forms part of the City’s plan to develop a total of 1 300 CRUs within Langa over the next three years.
The City is aware of the great need to transform more hostels in other areas in Cape Town such as Gugulethu and Nyanga, however, it is not possible to transform all of them, including Langa, at the same time as the roll-out needs to be done systematically according to approved budgeted plans.
We have been engaging with the leadership from the Langa Zones Hostel and they were made aware that other areas will also need to benefit from the Hostel Transformation Programme. They, however, are of the opinion that all of the hostels in Langa should be upgraded first before the programme is rolled out to other areas.
During our engagements, the City indicated to the community that the provision of more housing opportunities in Langa will be considered once the planned projects have been completed.