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City condemns violent protests in Siqalo and calls for calm<p>​A number of senior officials and political leaders, including the local subcouncil chairperson, Cllr Elton Janson, first met with community members from Siqalo on the morning of 2 May 2018. Later in the day, the Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Cllr Xanthea Limberg as well as the Mayoral Committee Member for Area South, Cllr Eddie Andrews met with the Siqalo leadership committee to discuss the community’s grievances and resolve tensions in the area. </p><p>To make this meeting possible, the City arranged and paid for the transport of community leaders to the Cape Town Civic Centre by the South African Police Service to ensure the safety of all community members in the area. </p><p>The Siqalo community was established more than six years ago when the parcel of land it currently resides on was illegally invaded. This land is privately owned. The community are demanding that the City purchases this land from the current land owner in order for more comprehensive services to be provided. Land invasions often result in inhabitable land being occupied where there are either flood or fire risks. This makes it challenging for formal services to be rendered or for future development to take place. This is the case with the Siqalo land parcel which has a significantly elevated flood risk.</p><p>It should be noted that the City already provides relatively comprehensive services to the community. These services are provided on privately owned land which limits the City’s ability to provide services. Some 2 291 structures are currently erected on this land parcel and, beyond weekly refuse collection and the provision of taps on the periphery of the settlement, the City also services 200 chemical toilets and 2 000 portable flush toilets in the informal settlement. The provision of further services such as electricity are hampered due to the private ownership of this land which makes it illegal for the City to install bulk infrastructure. </p><p>The City is furthermore, unfortunately, not in a position to purchase this land parcel but can confirm that ongoing negotiations for alternative solutions are currently under way. A meeting has just concluded wherein the Premier of the Western Cape, along with three Provincial Ministers; two Mayoral Committee Members; and the Human Rights Commission met with both the Mitchells Plain ratepayers and the Siqalo community leadership to broker a way forward. A further meeting has been arranged by Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela for this Saturday, 5 May 2018. At this meeting, the City and the Western Cape Provincial Government will present a package of potential solutions to both communities which includes the proposal of alternative land parcels for the relocation of Siqalo residents and residents of some other surrounding informal settlements. </p><p>City enforcement services remain on the scene and will continue to monitor the situation today to ensure the safety of all community members. That said, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is the primary agency responsible for public order policing. The City’s enforcement services act in support of SAPS.<br>In terms of major damage being reported, the City can confirm that an ATM at the Caltex garage in Highlands Drive was set alight, as well as a fruit and vegetable stall and a vehicle. One of the shops in the area was stoned, as well as an amaphela taxi. Any other damage assessments will only be finalised later. <br>The City cannot tolerate the wanton destruction of property, whether public or private. The City is more than willing to discuss service delivery-related concerns or challenges with residents and has worked successfully with the community over the last six years despite the challenging circumstances related to the ownership of the land parcel. There is no need to resort to the type of violence that has characterised this protest and others.</p><p>The City will continue to act to protect public land, and encourages private land owners to do the same to prevent large-scale, illegal land invasions. </p><p>As part of the City’s drive to transform living conditions in informal settlements, some R713 million is earmarked to be spent by the City’s Informal Settlements and Backyarder Department on backyarder service provision and the Informal Settlements Upgrade Programme over the next three years. At the same time, R150 million is expected to be spent on electricity services to backyard dwellers by the City’s Electricity Services Department. For the allocation of these resources to be fair, they must be based on a plan to provide services to those communities which have waited the longest for them. The City cannot support a precedent that allows resources meant to upgrade other areas to be reallocated in response to violent protests.</p><p>The mainstreaming of basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers, and achieving excellence in basic service delivery in general, are pillars of the City’s transformational priorities in accordance with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan. </p><p>The roll-out of the City’s backyarder and upgrade programmes are absolutely dependent on the cooperation of the communities involved and the support from the beneficiaries and other partners. </p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2018-05-02T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#792a36fa-9d0a-4f24-9f63-98557db59729;L0|#0792a36fa-9d0a-4f24-9f63-98557db59729|Mitchells Plain;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#d3ae5ed3-8f42-4593-a930-0e1debd471b9;L0|#0d3ae5ed3-8f42-4593-a930-0e1debd471b9|informal areas1


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