Protest after request for housing denied

Vilage Heights community centre, a brick structure, which the community was complaining about.

Protesters of the 13-year-old Village Heights informal settlement, in Lavender Hill, set tyres alight in the road last week to show their discontent towards the City of Cape Town as they feel their request for housing has been ignored.

Captain Stephen Knapp, spokesperson for Muizenberg SAPS, said no one was arrested and no damages were reported after the protest on Wednesday April 18.

This action followed a meeting with ward councillor Gerry Gordon on Monday April 9, about why brick houses cannot be built at the settlement.

It was mentioned that if the Village Heights community centre, situated at the end of Military Road and close to the Rondevlei Nature Reserve western border, could be built four years ago, why has their request for houses been denied.

Aysha Davids, chairperson of Village Heights steering committee, said people were told by the City that they cannot have brick houses, after they put in a proposal in June last year.

“The people are tired of waiting and they were told it was not possible for them to have houses.”

However, Ms Davids said, the 269 informal structures are well spaced and she said it will be possible for small brick houses to be erected on these plots.

Ms Davids said when the residents put the housing idea once again on the table, at the meeting, Ms Gordon “turned it down.”

Ms Davids said at the meeting, Ms Gordon said the idea of houses “will not work”.

However, she said Ms Gordon proposed a soccer field for Village Heights.

Ms Davids said Village Heights residents would welcome the soccer field. “However, housing comes first.”

Ms Davids said the residents of Village Heights did not get any written notification on why a housing development would not work.

She said the residents are tired of being “ignored” and the steering committee questions whether the City’s proposed budget allocated for informal settlements includes Village Heights or if there will be plans for “any kind” of housing developments.

The Southern Mail sent the City a request for comment, but told us to call Ms Gordon as some of the questions were directed at her.

We called three times and every time the phone was switched off. Southern Mail emailed the City to ask if they can let her know that we are calling her, and that she should answer her phone. Unfortunately, after we left Ms Gordon a message, she did not return our call.