9 June 2016
Dear Premier Zille,
As members of Cape Town’s Jewish community, we write to register our strong objection to the sale of Tafelberg School for private development. We urge you to stop the sale, and to use this valuable public land for affordable housing.
Access to land and the need to redress the spacial injustices of apartheid are an urgent priority everywhere in South Africa. Apartheid spatial planning was characterised by dispossession and forced removal of black residents from the inner city, and Cape Town remains a largely divided city to this day. You have a responsibility to do what is within your power to limit this continued dispossession as people such as domestic workers and poorer tenants are forced out by rents that have risen beyond their their reach.
Jewish communities proudly recognise education as being central to communal life, and the children of our community are fortunate to largely enjoy an excellent private education. However, our primary objection is to the sale of public space for private gain. Well-located, state-owned land is desperately needed for housing. This sale will mean passing over a critical opportunity to build a more inclusive community in Sea Point from which we will all benefit. In a city as segregated as ours, it is inconceivable –indeed unconscionable– that your government would ignore this opportunity.
We also ask you to recognise your Constitutional obligations as leader of the Western Cape provincial government to all people in the province. The very same Constitution that enshrines our freedom as Jews to express and observe our beliefs binds the state to take measures to advance the realisation of housing, safety, security and dignity for all. We will support the exploration of every legal avenue to prevent the sale of Tafelberg and ensure the fulfilment of these rights for all.
Joey Hasson, Rebecca Marcus, Emma Daitz and Jared Chaitowitz