Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance

Lester September
Co-ordinator of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance’s Liquor Licence and Anti-substance abuse portfolio
May 27

Dear Premier,

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA), a non party politically aligned alliance of 156 civic based organisations from across the Cape Metropole (from Noordhoek to the Helderberg/ Gordons Bay and from Atlantis to Strandfontein) has been asked by the Ndifuna Ukwazi Trust (NU) to support the objection of the secret sale of State property in Sea Point, Tafelberg to private developers.

As the Co-ordinator of the GCTCA’s Liquor Licence and Anti-substance abuse portfolio, I kindly request that you and network of friends and work colleagues object to the sale of the land to private developers, that will be used for exclusive private use. State Land is zoned for public use, and that it will be used by a private developer, while Cape Town suffers a lack of well located housing. In fact the WC provincial government admits that there is not much suitably located land close to established economic opportunity for social and affordable housing for historically disadvantaged Capetonians, who remain as outcasts on the outskirts of society due to forced removals and the perpetuation of apartheid spatial planning by the City of Cape Town.

In my capacity as the co-ordinator of the GCTCA’s Liquor Licence and Anti-substance abuse portfolio, I have engaged in dialogues with Dr Lane Benjamin (Clinical Psychologist and founder of Community Action towards a Safer Environment), Dr Carin Masters (Clinical psychologists advise columnist for the Cape Community Newspapers), Dr EV Rapiti (Medical doctor with post graduate studies in mental health) and Mr Charles Goredema (Former Senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies Crime Prevention Unit) in dialogues called “Gangsterism, Trauma and Substance abuse”. From these engagements it was revealed that a causal link exists between forced removals, the perpetuation of apartheid spatial planning, the way in which people were treated as inferior and worthless, and the social ills (gangsterism, substance abuse and violent crime etc) that pervades the Cape Flats and outlying informal settlements.

Premier Helen Zille and Mayor De Lille have consistently been calling on National Government to free up state land for the provision of low cost housing, however most of these properties are either on the outskirts of society or on the borders of areas formerly reserved for so called “whites.” by the apartheid regime.

In stark contrast to Premier Zille and Mayor de Lille call for national government to make available state land for housing, they have over a number of years now, been selling State property under their custodianship, at provincial and city level, and are in centrally located areas close to established economic opportunity. The WC High Court has put a stop to this, with regards to the Tafelberg site in Sea Point, citing a lack of a comprehensive public participation process.

During the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliances dialogues “Gangsterism, Trauma and Substance abuse”, we engaged various researchers, academics, Town Planners and Urban Researchers, Clinical Psychologists, Criminologists and Safety Strategists.

From these engagements, it became clear that forced removals, and the perpetuation of Apartheid Spatial Planning by the City of Cape Town with full support from Western Cape Provincial Government, drives most of the social ills (gangsterism, substance abuse and violent crime etc) that pervade Cape Town’s ghettos/ ganglands, and slums.

E.g. Clinical Psychologist Dr Lane Benjamin has shown from her 15 years of work in Cape Town’s ganglands, a causal link between forced removals, the perpetuation of apartheid spatial design, and substance abuse, gangsterism & violent crime. She disclosed that at present we not dealing with the underlying problems, which included substance abuse in the home, forced removals, and how this contributes to gang recruitment.

Dr Benjamin shows support to lesson population densities in Cape Town’s overcrowded ghetto’s and slums, while creating housing opportunities and restoring communities to areas (inner suburbs) they were kicked out of during apartheid,  would go some way to bring about healing.

Dr EV Rapiti (Medical Doctor with post graduate studies in Mental Health) has stated that the poor levels of long term success rates for rehabilitation in Cape Town’s ghettos and slums, is due to an unsafe environment to which most addicts have to return to.

Mr Charles Goredema’s (Former Senior Researcher at institute of Security Studies: Crime and Governance unit) research for the Institute of Security Studies also points to Dr Benjamin’s conclusions, where he states that after the forced removals, many found refuge in alcohol abuse and gangs, but that alcohol abuse in itself exposes children to gang recruitment and substance abuse.

Dr Johan Fourie, University of Stellenbosch economist reveals research, from Harvard University Economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, which shows placing the poor, working class (and historically disadvantaged) in Central Cape Town and the inner suburbs will greatly address apartheid legacies of social and economic exclusion.

The Annual Global Traffic Index report reveals that Cape Town in 2015, again, for the second year running, has achieved the unflattering accolade, of having the most congested roads in South Africa. The trend is set to continue in 2016, where road congestion in Cape Town is said to be getting worse.

Yes to an extent, it has got to do with the number of vehicles on the road, but Johannesburg has far more vehicles. The reason is due to population (density) distribution of Cape Town and the ever increasing distances people have to travel to work.

The Traffic Index discloses that Cape Town has one of the lowest population densities in Africa, if not the world, while densification maps reveal the reason for Cape Town being rated as having one of the lowest population densities, while also having the highest rate of traffic congestion in SA, is due to the extremely low population densities in the inner city and inner suburbs compared to Cape Town’s overcrowded ghettos/ ganglands and slums on the outskirts of society. A UN report on South African cities, states, that this ‘design drives inefficiencies and inequalities’, where Cape Town gets special reference as having a ‘highly dysfunctional’ design.

For business, the news is also not so good, as the Traffic Index reveals that ten working days a year are lost due to our congested roads, while each year the average South African is reported to lose R7,100 in productivity because they’re stuck in traffic. This productivity level does not include labour fatigue, due to travelling long distances to and from home and work.

South Africa has an overall traffic congestion level of 21%, the report said. Cape Town is the most congested city, overtaking Johannesburg, which topped the list until 2013.

I find it deplorable, that Premier Zille, can support the creation of Wolwerivier 35kms from Central Cape Town, butdoes not see the need to accommodate the poor and working class (Historically Disadvantaged Capetonians), in established economic areas, starting from Sea Point, Central Cape Town and then along the Southern Suburbs Main Road which is also one of the most established economic corridors in Cape Town if not South Africa. It boggles the mind that the City does not acknowledge that most forced removals took place from along the Southern Suburbs main road in its 5year Integrated Human Settlement Plan, which is funded by National government with the sole purpose of reversing apartheid spatial planning.

During the SONA 2014 debate, but after the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliances’s member organisations, engagement with the National Planning Commission (2012 to 2014) and the Presidency towards SONA 2014, we heard National Ministers of Housing and Finance state they will no longer be supporting the creation of dormitory settlements on the outskirts of society. We now see Premier Zille and Mayor Patricia De Lille selling state land to fund the building of houses on the outskirts, thus carrying on with the apartheid spatial concept, and by so doing ignoring empirical evidence that this design drives the social ills in Cape Town’s ghettos/ ganglands and slums. We cannot help to notice that as the funds dry up from national government, for the creation of dormitory settlements on the outskirts, that the City and Province pleads poverty, and states that they need to sell state land to seemingly finance the maintenance of Cape Town’s apartheid design, with houses on the outskirts of society.

As the Co-ordinator of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliances Liquor Licence and Anti-Substance abuse portfolio we thus object to the sale of state land within Sea Point, Central Cape Town, and in the inner suburbs by National Government, the Western Cape Provincial government, and City of Cape Town, to private developers, where the land could be best used for social and affordable housing.

As it has been consistently recommended that state property should also be used to correct the crime of apartheid, it is incumbent on province that state land in Sea Point, Tafelberg should be used to correct forced removals perpetrated by the predecessors of the City of Cape Town, but still being perpetuated today by the WC Provincial government and City. On this basis we object to the sale.”

Thanking you and kind regards

Kind regards

Lester September

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