Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dilemma of Cape’s homeless

Cape Town - When Nomanindia Mfeketo was Cape Town mayor she made a commitment that within a year there would be no more children sleeping on the city’s streets.

That was in 2004 and, as she later acknowledged, the problem was a lot more complex than she had originally realised.

There have been a number of efforts since then to reduce the number of homeless people on the streets.

Before the World Cup in 2010, NGOs accused the city of rounding up street children and the homeless and dumping them at Blikkiesdorp near Delft. The city denies this, though, saying Blikkiesdorp was established as a Temporary Relocation Area in 2008 to house people who were evicted after invading N2 Gateway houses.

And last year there was a talk of the establishment of “community villages” outside the city centre where people could live and have access to skills training and drug rehabilitation programmes.

Greg Andrews, convener of the Street People’s Forum, said this proposal had since been canned.

The forum is a collective of several organisations working with street people in the city.

Andrews said the city’s “community village” idea was a perennial proposal that had surfaced in many guises over the last two decades.

“Even if such a community village were established, why would people want to go there? Would they be compelled against their will?

“On the other hand, perhaps it would be a really attractive proposition which someone on the streets would love to go to, in which case why would people leave once they have entered?”

Hassan Khan, chief executive of the Haven Night Shelter, believes the streets are no place for people to live.

“The streets should be a cold place, a place where you are hungry, so people come for help.”

But he says people are given permission to be there by politicians and some encouraged by NGOs who go out and give blankets and food to the poor.

“People are pre-programmed to help. They also pay someone just to be left alone.”

Not that he believes that poverty should be policed like the CCID with their private armies who force people to the edge of the CBD.

Khan said there were an increasing number of people coming to the streets, mainly adults.

“There are guys in their 50s from Welkom who have worked their whole lives in the Post Office and are virtually unemployable now.”

There is a large gay population, people who are not accepted by their families, and youngsters lured by the bright city lights.

“The important thing is how quickly a child on the street is identified and helped. The same with adults.”

Zara Nicholson, spokeswoman for mayor Patricia de Lille, said the City of Cape Town was the first city in the country to have adopted a policy for people living on the street.

“The city’s strategy is to reduce the number of people living on the street and to place them back with their families and communities of origin.”

Part of this reintegration effort included attempts to secure employment opportunities via the Expanded Public Works Programme.

Nicholson said that street people could not, however, be forced into accepting the city’s offers of assistance.

The City of Cape Town’s Reintegration Unit, launched in December, had successfully assisted 85 street people in its first three months of operation.

The city is also in the final phase of its Street People Survey which would include conducting a headcount of street people. The last comprehensive survey conducted by the city was in 2001 and there are estimates that there are around 7 000 transient people either living or begging on the street (across the whole city).

Councillor Suzette Little, the city’s mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development announced recently that the city had nearly doubled its budget for its winter street people programme this year. The budget for the 2014 programme was R280 000, but this year R600 000 had been allocated.

Little said they also ran a number of programmes in communities most at risk to prevent more people migrating to the streets.

“These programmes are focused on issues in the home, truancy and substance abuse and to provide support to street people who are reintegrated into their communities to prevent a return to their former life.”

But Andrews doesn’t believe the city’s Street People Policy is actually effective.

“The central aim of its current policy boils down to the removal of people from the streets, though this is couched in gentle terms like ‘reintegration’ and ‘reunification’ so it’s quite palatable.”

But he explains that reunification or reintegration only worked if it was self-determined.

“Take for instance the typical example of someone who has come to the city centre desperate for work. Precious few opportunities exist and eventually he either is begging or parking cars, scrounging a pittance any way he can.

“Even if he never makes enough money to support his family, at least he feels he is not a burden to them – another mouth to feed, a body taking up precious space.

“But sometimes, he may be able to get a bag of groceries back home, maybe for someone’s birthday or for Christmas. Now the city’s Reintegration worker finally compels this man to go home.

“Imagine the shame of being escorted home by the larney from the welfare with nothing to support your family and them being told they must look after you. This is not sustainable.”

Andrews believes reintegration was only possible once the “40 percent unemployment and intractable brutal violence” that characterises daily life in the home communities that people on the streets run away from, are addressed.

“Furthermore, we need to address the bottleneck of over-full shelters, over-stretched services and inadequate social housing. Reintegration is meaningless when we have nothing to reintegrate a person into.”

Andrews says it would be refreshing if the city were to admit that people on the streets are not the problem and they’re not going away any time soon.

“The real problem is that 20 years into freedom, poverty is worse and it’s high time we stop trying to remove the poor from our well-to-do areas just because they make us feel uncomfortable or threaten our illusion of security.”

- Cape Argus

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Decade anniversary - How to Build a cannabrick home

Peacefully Demonstrated outside the Department of Housing May 7 2005
  1. Plant a cannabis seed. Water and allow the plant to grow and produce seed. Plant and water these seeds. Your goal is to grow enough to build a house, you will need about 1 acre to build a 5 roomed home.

    Tyala imbewu ntsangu (ye-cannabis). Nkcenkceshela imbewu uze uyinike ithuba lokuba ikhule ide ikhuphe eyayo imbewu. Uyothi ke uyityale nalembewu uyinkcenkceshele njalo. Injongo yakho kukukhulisa izityalo ezothi zonele ekwakheni indlu, uyakudinga i-acre (malunga nentsimi) enye ukuze wakhe indlu enamagumbi amahlanu.

    Plant 'n hemp saad. Water en laat die plante om te groei en saad te produseer. Plant en water hierdie sade. Jou doel is om  genoeg te groei om 'n huis bou, jy sal ongeveer een aker benodig om 'n 5-kamer huis te bou.

    Sokutshala imbewu insangu njalo. Amanzi nokuvumela isitshalo ukuze zikhule futhi ukhiqize imbewu. Plant namanzi lezi zinhlamvu. Umgomo wakho iwukuba akhule ngokwanele ukwakha indlu, uzodinga 1 Acre ukwakha 5 roomed ekhaya.

  2. Consider the many relevant points presented in the guidelines of Build a house with hemp / Building with hemp.

    Qwalasela yonke imigaqo oyibekelweyo kwincwadana i-Build a house with hemp / Building with hemp.

    Oorweeg die baie relevante punte in die riglyne van die Build a house with hemp / Building with hemp.

    Cabangela amaphuzu amaningi efanele evezwa neziqondiso of Yakha indlu nge insangu / Building nge insangu.

  3. Start planning where your house will stand. Consider everything about the environment you’ll be building in, like winter and summer sunshine, wind and rain – you don’t want to build on a floodplain, or your house will wash away. Be sure to plan all your water and waste requirements.

    Ceba indawo ozokwakha kuyo indlu yakho. Qwalasela yonke into ngomhlaba lo uzokwakha kuwo indlu yakho, izinto ezinje ngemimoya, ilanga, neemvula zehlobo nobusika, akekho umntu ofuna ukwakha indlu yakhe emgxobhozweni okanye apho iyothi ibe lilifa lezikhukhula khona. Uqiniseke ukuba unamanzi akulungeleyo ukwenza oku.

    Begin met die beplanning, waar jou huis sal staan. Oorweeg dit alles oor die omgewing en jy sal gebou in, soos winter en somer son, wind en reën - jy wil nie op 'n vloedvlakte bou nie, of jou huis sal wegspoel. Maak seker om te beplan al jou water en afval vereistes voldoen.

    Qala uhlela kuphi indlu yakho eyokuma. Cabanga konke mayelana imvelo uyobe ngokwakha ku, efana ebusika kanye kwelanga ehlobo, umoya nemvula-ungafuni ukwakha ethile kwemfunda, noma indlu yakho iyoba basuse. Qiniseka ukuhlela konke amanzi kanye imfucuza izidingo zakho.

  4. Cut the grown cannabis plants down and leave in the field to rett for a week. The morning dew and natural rotting process will loosen the fibers from the plant.

    a. Process the plant matter by cutting leaves and branches off, then hit small bundles the length of the plant over and upturned rake.
    b. The long fiber parts that remain in your hand are good for weaving rugs and making various other items your skills can accomplish.
    c. The seed can be gathered for more housing.
    d. Gather the small woody bits (the hurd) that have fallen, this waste is what will be used in the construction material.

    Sika / sarha izityalo uzibeke egadini ixesha elingangeveki ukuze zibole. Umbethe wasekuseni nezinye izinto zendalo ezibolisayo ziya kuyikhulula I-fibre ezityalweni.

    a. Yikhawulezise ngohlukanisa intonga zezityalo namagqabi, uhlale uyiharika rhoqo.
    b. Intonga ezi zinothi zincede kwezinye izinto ezifana nokwenza ingubo nezinye izinto onothi uzibonele zona ngokolwazi lwakho.
    c. Imbewu inokuqokelelwe ukwakha ezinye izindlu.
    d. Qokelela imithana ethe yaziwela njengokuba uzoyisebenzisa xa usakha indlu yakho.

    Sny die gegroei hemp/cannabis plante af en in die veld verlaat om rhett vir 'n week. Die oggend-dou en die natuurlike verrotting proses sal die vesel van die plant los te maak.

    a. Proses van die plantmateriaal deur te sny blare en takke af, dan is getref klein bundels die lengte van die plant oor en omgekeerde hark.
    b. Die lang vesel dele wat in jou hand bly is goed vir die matte weef en die maak van verskeie ander items jou vaardighede kan bereik.
    c. Die saad kan vir meer behuising ingesamel word.
    d. Versamel die klein houtagtige bits (die hurd) wat gedaal het, die afval is wat sal in die konstruksie materiaal gebruik kan word.

    Sika izitshalo insangu njalo. isikhule phansi endle ukuze rhett isonto lonke. Amazolo ekuseni inqubo lwemvelo ukubola kuzokwenza athambise imicu kulesi simila.

    a. Ukucubungula udaba plant ukusika amaqabunga namagatsha ahambe ke hit izinyanda amancane ubude sitshalo phezu ne hala sokutakula.
    b. I-long fibre izingxenye ezisele esandleni sakho kukhona okuhle ngokuba ihlanganisa omata kanye nokwenza ezinye izinto ezahlukahlukene amakhono akho kungaba afeze.
    c. Imbewu kungenziwa babuthana izindlu xaxa.
    d. Ubuthe izingcezu bok encane (i-hurd) ukuthi uwe, lokhu imfucuza okuzokusiza lisetshenziswe ukwaziswa yezokwakha

  5. Wash the hurd, dry it, then wash it again. Be careful not to allow the matter to rot or decay during this process, by turning, airing and allowing the African sun to dry the hurd properly. Now combine in proportions 10:2:3:3 combine the cannabis/ntsangu/dagga Hurd(10), washed river sand 0.5mm(2), hydraulic lime(3) and water(3) to make the mulch (This process may need tweaking depending on your geographic location, humidity, rainfall etc)

    Hlamba ingqokelela yakho, uyomise, uphinde uyihlambe.Ulumkele ukuba lengqokelela ibole kwelithuba, yiguquguqule, uyivumele ibethwe ngumoya uvumele nelanga lase Afrika liyomise lengqokelela. Dibanisa ngokwalo mgaqo 10:2:3:3, dibanisa ke lemvuno yakho yomgquba wentsangu (10) kunye nesanti yasemlanjeni 0.5mm(2), ikalika (3) kunye namanzi (3) ukwenza udaka (Nale into ke iyokuthi ixhomekeke kwindawo leyo ukuyo nemvula zakhona njalo-njalo).

    Was die kudde, droog dit af, dan was dit weer. Wees versigtig om nie toe te laat die aangeleentheid te verrot of verval gedurende hierdie proses, deur die draai, voorlê en laat die Afrika-son om droog die kudde goed. Nou kombineer in verhoudings 10:2:3:3 kombineer die cannabis / ntsangu / dagga Hurd (10), gewaste riviersand 0.5 mm (2), hidrouliese kalk (3) en water (3) aan die deklaag te maak (Hierdie proses kan tweaking nodig, afhangende van jou geografiese ligging, humiditeit, reën, ens)

    Geza izinti, zome it ke geza futhi. Qaphela ukuba singavumeli udaba ukubola noma ukubola kulo msebenzi , ngokubhekisa , angabiki futhi sivumele ilanga Afrika ukuze ome le hurd kahle . Sebesebenzisa ngezabelo 10:2:3:3 hlanganisa insangu njalo. / ntsangu / insangu Hurd (10) , umfula wageza isihlabathi 0.5mm (2) , wokubacindezela umcako (3) kanye namanzi (3) ukwenza semboza ngabo izithombo zezihlahla (Le nqubo may badinga tweaking kuye ngokuthi indawo yokuhlala yakho, umswakama, imvula, njll)

  6. Now build your house! Ngoku ke yakha indlu yakho! Nou bou jou huis! Manje ukwakha indlu yakho!

  7. Teach others. Fundisa abanye. Onderrig ander.

You can use this “dagga-cement” for making bricks, shutter casting or the proven “pole-and-dagga” method. This last method allows for a sturdy, warm, fireproof and water proof home – built with pride and intuitive engineering, not a ‘uniform box’.

Be sure to consider all aspects of your house design and structural requirements. Although the cannabis-cement will become stronger than steel in time, it is not advised to build over 2 floors high without considering structural implications. With planning this cement can be used to build up to 4 floors high.

The cannabis-cement will dry over a period of a month (depending on the weather). At this point you will be able to add the roof. Seal your home’s walls with lime; lime external walls annually. Decorate your house with masonry to make it unique, and paint with coloured lime as per custom.

Always PLANT A TREE in a place that will provide shade, to commemorate this accomplishment.
Council will plant trees if citizens care for them. Call (021) 689-8938

Assist your family, friends or neighbors with your experience and expertise. Share information and technique; you can uplift yourself and your community.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Lindiwe Sisulu wants to tear down South Africa’s notorious hostels – the scene of much of the xenophobic rioting in Joburg last month.

Indunas, the hostel leaders, have warned though that they won’t be part of anything that does not guarantee them proper houses – and they refuse to go into temporary shelters while the government breaks down existing hostels and builds new ones.

On Thursday, at a pre-budget vote, the human settlements minister said told MPs during her budget vote that hostels had to go because they had no place in a reconfigured state.

“Most of them (hostel residents) have spent a great deal of their time in cities. That they may have a holiday home in Mqanduli (in the Eastern Cape) doesn’t make them different from someone with a holiday home in Camps Bay who works in Brakpan,” she said.

Hostel residents would qualify either for a state-subsidised house, or community residential unit. It was time for South Africa to shed lingering legacy of apartheid and deal with the often atrocious living conditions in hostels: “They (hostels) are a very painful relic of our past... They (hostel residents) should live as part of society,” said Sisulu.

But in Alexandra’s Madala hostel, induna Bafowethu Sokhela said on Thursday ight: “What she’s saying has been said for years by many other politicians. Right now, they’re supposed to be developing the hostel as they said they would – but they’re doing nothing.”

He has lived in the hostel since the 1980s.

“The hostel has many people living in it. I don’t think they’ll have enough space to house us all. We won’t allow them to put us in temporary homes. We want houses just like other people in the country.”

Sokhela said the government must house every Madala hostel resident before it shut the place.

“They need to come in and get everyone’s information and move us into houses block by block if they have to. But they can’t close it till we have houses.”

The decision comes on the back of the refusal by residents of some Gauteng hostels to move into upgraded buildings, renovated from the apartheid-era single male accommodation into family units since 2009.

Following the upgrade, residents had to pay R750 a month.

Hostel residents complained they hadn’t been properly consulted and couldn’t afford the monthly rental.

Diepkloof, Soweto, hostel residents took to the streets to protest over housing on Monday.

This was the second protest by the hostel dwellers in Diepkloof following a protest in the area in June last year over lack of housing.

In Parliament, Sisulu said the government would like to “gradually abolish hostels in our towns, and hostel dwellers who have lived in our towns for a number of years would qualify for a Breaking New Ground house, or the CRU (community residential units) subsidy, depending on their specific circumstances”.

She said they had agreed with the mayors that upgraded hostels would be taken over by the Social Housing Regulatory Authority.

“This we will do in every town where we have upgraded hostels and hostel dwellers have not taken up residency.”

She said the government would accommodate hostel dwellers in temporary shelters while it put up permanent houses for them.

These social housing units would be given to young people under the age of 40 and who cannot afford to buy a house.

Sisulu said the recent raids on hostels in Jeppe and Alexandra in Joburg during xenophobic violence were not because they were targeting hostel dwellers.

The army and police raids at the hostels were a result of the violence emanating from those areas.

“We don’t associate them with evil,” she said.

The minister said there was no fixed date for the plan to complete the abolishment of hostels.

Surveys would be done on all the hostels throughout the country.

Subsequently, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo told The Star the survey had already been undertaken and would finalised by next Friday.

DA MP Makashule Gana said houses built for hostel dwellers in Diepkloof and Mzimhlophe in Soweto were still empty after more than 10 years.

The national Department of Human Settlements is shifting its focus to mega-projects in order to tackle the country’s 1.5 million-unit housing backlog.

About 150 project applications have been received from the public and private sectors.

These would be processed to get under way over the next four years.

Sisulu said 60 percent of work would be done by youth brigades, funded by a ringfenced R159m, in an effort to transfer skills and create employment opportunities for young people.

However, the Human Settlements Department is also undertaking a review of its tender processes, described as its “biggest headache”, to prevent corruption and fraud.

A new procurement system should prevent abuse.

- Political Bureau and The Star

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Foreigners here legally need housing too – Sisulu

Cape Town – If South Africa is to heal itself of the long-term effects of xenophobia, it must find a way to ensure that those who are in the country legally have somewhere to live. 

Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu made the comment on Thursday at a news conference at Parliament before her budget speech and debate in the National Assembly. 

She reiterated the promise that she made last year regarding the housing backlog – to build 1.5 million houses and to provide housing opportunities. 

When the department counted the housing backlog, it counted South Africans, said Sisulu. 

“It has become obvious with the unfortunate xenophobic outbreak that there are many people who need housing of all kinds. 

“And if we are to heal over the long-term, we need to find a way to ensure that those people who are here legally have a place to live – either in rented accommodation or community housing units – because there is a tendency to buy houses from our beneficiaries. We must look further than last year, and try to find a measurable way to count our backlog.” 

Sisulu called on people to look after their houses, because they were assets. The value of a low-cost house built by the state is currently R160 000. 

The government was also committed to eradicating hostels – a remnant of the apartheid system. 

“Those who have lived in hostels for several years will qualify for state housing or a subsidy for community dwelling, depending on their specific requirements,” said Sisulu.

- NEWS24

Friday, May 1, 2015

Shack fire leaves more than 200 homeless

Cape Town - Approximately 240 people have been left homeless after a fire swept through parts of an informal settlement in Masiphumelele near Fish Hoek late on Thursday afternoon, the City of Cape Town said.

“Approximately 60 structures were destroyed,” the City’s disaster risk management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell said.

The City is providing emergency shelter for the survivors at the Masiphumelele Community Hall.

“The Red Cross Society will provide relief in the form of hot meals, blankets, and food,” said Powell.

The City’s human settlements department was on scene registering those affected and would provide affected residents with starter kits to rebuild their homes.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Backyarders mark ‘their plots’ in Philippi

Cape Town - Backyarders from various townships marked plots on an open piece of land in Philippi on Wednesday, saying they were tired of waiting for housing.

The group used sticks, pangas and pegs to mark off pieces of land where they plan to erect structures near the Joe Gqabi transport terminus off Stock Road.

The residents were from Langa, Gugulethu, Samora Machel and Site C, and received help from community leaders.

One of the leaders, Joseph Makeleni, said they would continue to assist residents who wanted to invade open land.

“Law Enforcement and police came to remove us, but we were peaceful and some of the people left and others stayed.

“People have been waiting for housing for a long time, they are on the database for a long time and nothing is happening.”

Makeleni said they would continue to take land as a way to make the city notice them and their need for housing and proper service delivery.

“We feel rejected by the government and we will provoke them until they give us services.

“It is the only way to get their attention, by taking over the land that they boast about but don’t use.”

Makeleni said most of the privately owned land belonged to “rich white businessmen”, which was unfair.

Charmaine Mkoni, a community leader from the Marikana informal settlement, said they were forced to fight for themselves as their elected councillors were not doing much about their lack of housing and service delivery.

“We are planning on sleeping here because people are entitled to have spaces and housing.

“We will help each other to put up shacks and stay here,” Mkoni said.

City Law Enforcement spokesman Neil Arendse said they responded to the invasion but it was quiet and no serious incidents were reported.

Arendse said they remained in the area and officers were also focusing on other land invasion hotspots.

“Even though some of the land is privately owned, at some point it becomes a city problem. When the owner doesn’t do anything about it (invaders), the city has to step in,” Arendse said.

- Cape Argus

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Humble locations with exotic names

Cape Town - Ever wondered how exotic locations such as Barcelona, France and Taiwan became the names of local informal settlements?

Residents offered some explanation about the names last week, pointing out that conditions in them did not quite match the famous names.

Barcelona informal settlement in Gugulethu was named after the Spanish city because some residents wanted to draw international attention to the plight of the people in the area situated adjacent to the N2, said resident Mongami Mbili.

“It was around 1993 when I arrived here and there were several shacks, not many of them. This place was occupied by people who were mostly backyard dwellers from various areas, and some who were living with their parents and looking for their own place,” said Mbili.

A stone’s throw from Barcelona is the Europe informal settlement in Nyanga. Resident Thanduxolo Temba said the name simply surfaced - then it stuck.

“Europe has existed since 1992. It was formed by people who were mainly from the township area called Lusaka. This place was a dumping site, and people cleaned it up and erected their structures. Committees were then formed. It has grown fast over the years,” said Temba.

In Khayelitsha, France informal settlement was named after residents from Site B were given the go-ahead to occupy the open ground near OR Tambo Hall in 1997.

“People were told they could build on the land the same weekend Bafana Bafana qualified for the World Cup in France for the first time. There was a national campaign Siyaya eFrance (We are going to France).

“Residents were overjoyed and decided to name this place as a reminder of that moment,” said Sithembele Nongauza.

He said residents were promised development, but 18 years down the line the place is still the same.

The city also has its own Marikana, which is situated in Philippi. Marikana was informally named after the Rustenburg township where striking miners were killed during a clash with police almost three years ago.

“There were few shacks in that land before people from various places came and occupied it. Most of the people who stay here were backyarders,” said community leader Xolani Joja. He said it was named Marikana because residents were evicted many times and their building material taken away.

“We clashed with the police. They used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, but we never backed down. We kept fighting until the end. Now this place belongs to the people. This place is home to many people,” Joja said.

About a kilometre from France, backyarders from TR Section and Site C in Khayelitsha illegally occupied land and named it Azania.

Their occupation did not last long as the land owner, arms manufacturer Denel, obtained an eviction court order.

Xolani Jack, a former TR resident, said:

“I named the place Azania and other residents liked the name. We named it after Azania because this is our country. We are the people of Azania.”

Adjacent to Mitchells Plain is the Siqalo informal settlement, which is home to more than 1 200 families.

The settlement, on private land, has existed for less than five years.

“Siqalo means beginning. This place was a forest and people used to dump here.

“There were a few people from Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain living here too. People who were backyard dwellers could no longer afford rent and identified this land.

“It was named by residents. This land is not suitable for us to live on, but we have nowhere else to go,” said resident Sinazo Tempele.

- Cape Times

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Five dead, scores displaced by fires

Cape Town - Five people were killed in three separate fires in the Cape Peninsula on Sunday morning, the City of Cape Town Fire Service said.

“Just before 3am this [Sunday] morning the City’s Fire and Rescue Service responded to an informal settlement fire, Salamander Road Command, Hout Bay,” said spokesman Theo Layne.

A man, a woman, and two minors were killed in the blaze which swept through the informal settlement, destroying 30 shacks.

Approximately 120 people were left displaced.

Police were on scene to investigate the cause of the fire.

An hour later, a man was killed when one shack was razed to the ground in Solomon street, Mfuleni.

Earlier on Sunday morning, 25 people were left displaced when seven shacks were destroyed during a fire at the Village Heights informal settlement in Lavender Hill.


Monday, April 13, 2015

No case yet on gang building protection

Cape Town - Police say “information from ground level” about protection money being paid to the Hard Livings gang by city-contracted construction companies refurbishing flats in Manenberg is not enough to warrant an investigation.

On Sunday, Jeremy Vearey, head of Operation Combat, a police operation targeting gangsterism in the province, said he had been notified of the situation in Manenberg, but needed a statement under oath to officially investigate.

“We received information from ground level which indicated these activities were taking place, but information is information. We need a statement under oath to form the basis of a case docket and then we can investigate,” Vearey said.

Vearey mentioned a report published on Sunday in the Weekend Argus, the Cape Times’s sister newspaper, that revealed an e-mail from safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith to other city officials, dated December 12, had been leaked.

Smith confirmed this on Sunday. He said he had been made aware of the allegations in December last year.

“In the e-mail, I basically said that all the information we have needs to go to the SAPS because it is a criminal offence in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act and must be criminally prosecuted.

“I made it clear that the dossier be handed over and the complaint made to a senior police officer,” Smith said.

Vearey said: “We have not seen or received any dossier yet.”

Smith said he would be meeting with the city’s human settlements department and the construction companies this week.

“Either we will hire city law enforcement as security or we will select a panel of security companies and choose one to work there,” he said.

Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said the city was investigating two construction companies.

“Initially there was H & I Construction, and now there is Good Hope Construction. We are busy with our investigation and will be meeting again this week to discuss the way forward. The refurbishments will continue this week and we are on track to finish in June,” she said.

Good Hope Construction chief executive Raziek Rajah denied that his company was being investigated.

“It must be made clear that according to the city, we are not under investigation. They have made contact to confirm this.”

Rajah refused to be drawn on whether his workers were asked to pay gangsters protection money.

Attempts to reach H & I Construction for comment proved fruitless.

- Cape Times

'Political instigators' blamed for land grabs

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town is set to lay criminal charges against “political instigators” of a spate of illegal land invasions which have hit the metropole in recent days.

Metro Police and the SA Police Service officers were called to intervene in at least three land grabs in Khayelitsha, Wallacedene and Kalkfontein in the past week.

“The City is investigating reports of possible political interference pertaining to the Kalkfontein violence but it must be emphasised that a trend of political instigation is already visible in the attempted land invasions which have taken place recently, including in Khayelitsha,” said the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen.

“We condemn land invasions and the incitement to invade State- or privately-owned land in the strongest possible terms. We urge residents not to be misled by miscreants who are preying on the poor to build their political profiles and to create havoc in the city.”

On Sunday night, a group of protestors who were prevented from invading land in Kalkfontein, near Kuils River, set a church alight.

“We will not tolerate this behaviour, which is placing strain on the City’s law enforcement agencies, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the City’s broader service delivery efforts at the expense of law-abiding residents,” said Van Minnen.

“The City will use every available resource at its disposal to prevent land invasions and we will make sure that those who are responsible for any incitement to violence, land invasions and other criminal acts face the full consequences of the law.”

Van Minnen declined to name the politicians the City would be laying charges against regarding the Kalkfontein incident.

The City had, however, already laid charges against Economic Freedom Fighters Western Cape leader Nazier Paulsen who led a group of people to occupy land in Khayelitsha during the Easter weekend.

The City had since managed to remove the structures erected on the land next to the Nolungile railway station.

Law enforcement officers were also called to Wallacedene in Kraaifontein at the weekend. Thirty four structures were removed from the land.

The City on Monday called on private landowners to contact the City and relevant law enforcement agencies if they detect the illegal occupation of land.

“Landowners need to act immediately,” said Van Minnen.

“If landowners or residents are aware of any other illegal activity, such as political instigation or criminality, they must approach the SAPS to conduct an investigation and for assistance.”


Cape land invaders refuse to move

Cape Town - Illegal land invasions have spread across Cape Town from Khayelitsha, Kalkfontein near Bonteheuwel and now to Wallacedene in Kraaifontein.

JP Smith, the mayco member of safety and security for the City of Cape Town, said seven people who occupied land illegally in Kalkfontein were arrested on Saturday.

“There were protesters in the area who were burning tyres and throwing stones near the lane of the R300 earlier on Saturday afternoon. And, firemen in Hamilton Estate were also assaulted after trying to put out a fire. One man was injured and the others refused to go back to control the fire because of the danger that they were in,” Smith said.

In light of the sporadic land grabs that took place across the city last week, Smith provided a breakdown of the city’s intervention.

“(A total of) 20 illegal structures and 920 pegs were destroyed in Khayelitsha, 100 pegs were destroyed in Lwandle (Strand). Thirteen illegal structures were demolished in Kalkfontein.”

He said public spaces in Wallacedene were under threat. “More of these illegal structures are being erected. (On Sunday) police will be in the area to stop these structures from disturbing public spaces.”

When the Cape Argus visited Kalkfontein on Sunday, people remained defiant and continued to erect illegal structures, saying they have nowhere else to go.

Elliot Malgas was adamant that he and his family would not move willingly. “We still want to build here. On Saturday, law enforcement demolished our homes but we haven’t got any other place to stay.”

After being evicted, Malgas said: “It was terrible, I am not happy. Everyone here has bought all the materials for their houses, now we have to spend more money to build. I have lost my TV, clothes and even my ID.”

He said this was the third time in one week that their homes were destroyed.

A church was set alight during the violent protest.

“It’s confirmed that the church has been set alight. Apparently it appears it was set alight by protestors,” said police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana.

No injuries were reported.

“No arrests have been made so far. The investigation is still ongoing,” said Kinana.

Joshua Njingo, who was shot in the head on Saturday said: “They came to shoot at us while we were building. It’s terrible. The South African law enforcement can’t just come from behind and just shoot you.”

Banele Ntlangani, 22, another Kalkfontein resident, feared losing his eight-month-old baby, Uminati.

“We were busy building and law enforcement came. They said they were here just to break the shacks without people living inside them. Afterwards they surrounded the whole area with hippos and then just broke all the houses.”

Police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana said: “Eight protesters were arrested for public violence on Sunday and they are expected to appear in court (Monday).”

- Cape Argus and ANA

Cape Town Stadium may cost another R60 million

Ratepayers are not done paying for the Cape Town Stadium just yet, because a draft environmental assessment report released for public comment reveals it could cost as much as R60 million to refurbish parts of the stadium to make it suitable for commercial activities.

The consultants working on the assessment, the Environmental Partnership, said this was an "approximate" cost that would depend on the stadium's full commercial potential being realised. With more limited specifications, the amount could be drastically reduced.

But the use of the stadium for office and retail space could bring in an annual revenue of R31m.

It has cost the City of Cape Town R4.4 billion to build the stadium for the 2010 World Cup, and the facility has been running at an annual loss of R39m since then.

Luke Stevens, spokesman for the Camps Bay Residents' and Ratepayers' Association (CBRRA), said: "Our greatest fear as ratepayers is that the city will throw significant amounts of good money - such as R60m - in speculative redevelopment to discover that even after the removal of the constraints to business activity, the stadium remains technically unprofitable."

Stevens said the association did not object to the commercialisation of the stadium precinct, but had "very little faith" in the business plan upon which the projected revenue streams were based.

The city had yet to adopt a business model for the stadium, and work on this was being done as a separate exercise, said the Environmental Partnership.

Stevens said this process "remains opaque and we continue to suspect, given the competencies of the International Risk Mitigation Consultants who compiled the business plan, that the hidden emphasis in the business plan's terms of reference was to find a way to dislodge Western Province Rugby from Newlands rather than to find real alternatives for Cape Town Stadium".

An estimated 20 000m2 of potential lettable space for offices, restaurants or retail outlets was available within the stadium structure. The proposed commercialisation of the precinct was limited to the stadium and would not infringe on the Urban Park.

The Environmental Partnership said the remainder of the shortfall would be made up from various revenue streams, such as the development of suites, commercial parking, advertising and the development of the Granger Bay Precinct.

The development of this precinct could bring in between R27m and R98m, depending on which proposal was accepted.

There was a separate environmental impact assessment under way for the Granger Bay area but the legislation was changed last December, and the proposed redevelopment was no longer a listed activity and therefore did not require an environmental authorisation. However, the development would still need land use and heritage approvals.

Given the ongoing operational and maintenance budget shortfalls for the stadium, the city needed to find a sustainable business model that would make the precinct commercially viable.

This could only be done if the existing environmental authorisation that restricted these activities was amended.

"It is anticipated that the income generated from commercial activities will assist in reducing the annual deficit of R39m incurred by the municipality and subsequently the ratepayers. From an economic point of view, the stadium's viability needs to be improved and municipal spending on this existing facility reduced," said the report.

The draft environmental report forms part of this process.

After feedback from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, it was recommended that two rezoning proposals should be considered - general business and a split zoning, which would allow the South Forecourt to be used for general business subzone 1, while the remainder would be for subzone 7.

While both zones would allow for commercial activity that include retail, business or office space, places of worship, a multiple parking garage, a service station, places of entertainment or hotels, the South Forecourt would have a height restriction and floor space restrictions.

Additional use rights include an adult shop subject to certain provisions.

The split-zoning was the preferred alternative, as it would be more likely to protect the integrity of the South Forecourt while allowing this portion of the precinct to become more functional.

Some of the major impacts identified in the report include the additional lighting at the stadium, potential traffic impact on event days, and future development risks associated with the South Forecourt.

The report also recommended conditions of approval, such as the use of signals on the Green Point traffic circle to cope with the increased traffic and a heritage assessment of any development on the South Forecourt.

This area of the stadium must be used as a functional open space, said the Environmental Partnership. This condition was welcomed by CBRRA. "We stress that open space is vital to the promotion of a healthy and productive society. These spaces are not fallow, wasted areas," said Stevens.

The findings of the draft environmental impact report will be available at an open meeting at the stadium on April 21, from 4pm until 8pm, with a presentation starting at 6pm.

- IOLProperty

Church set alight during protest

Cape Town - A church was set alight during a violent protest in Kalkfontein, near Kuils River, on Sunday evening, Western Cape police said.

“It’s confirmed that the church has been set alight. Apparently it appears it was set alight by protesters,” said police spokesman Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana.

“As I understand it, it’s a continuation of the land invasion protests that were going on the weekend,” he said.

No injuries were reported.

“No arrests have been made so far. The investigation is still ongoing,” said Kinana.

Kinana could not confirm whether the protests were linked to similar protests late in March when a council home rented by a law enforcement officer was petrol-bombed, allegedly by a group of people evicted from land they illegally occupied.

Members of the public order policing unit would remain on the scene, Kinana said.

Since March, the area has seen an invasion to occupy a stretch of land belonging to the city council.