Moravian Church in South Africa

Dear Madam Premier,

The Moravian Church in South Africa objects to the sale of state land (Tafelberg Remedial School and Wynard Mansions), by the Western Cape Provincial Government, but instead supports the creation of housing opportunities in the inner suburbs, starting from Sea Point, Central Cape Town, and then along the Southern Suburbs Main Road, as this is the area where most forced removals under the Apartheid regime took place in Cape Town. The Tafelberg site sould be included as one of the options for housing in this regard.

The creation of housing in the inner suburbs and inner city, will greatly contribute to the healing of spiritual and psychological wounds left by the devastation that was forced removals, and the “Not welcome” sign put up by the Apartheid regime for historically disadvantaged.

Since the dawn of democracy the Western Cape provincial government and the City of Cape Town has not addressed the exclusionary practices of their predecessors in the Apartheid regime, by creating housing opportunities in the inner suburbs and inner city. The Moravian Church itself has experiences, via our community members that lived in District 6, Sea Point, Harfield Village, Claremont etc of the mostly brutal forced removals to Hanover Park, Lansdowne, Bonteheuwel, Manenbuerg, Steenberg, Langa etc.

We agree that it is the state’s obligation to reverse apartheid spatial planning in Cape Town, which was designed to reserve the inner city, and particularly areas such as Sea Point, for wealthy residents classified as so called ‘white’ by the apartheid regime.

We thus view the use of state owned land in Sea Point as the first step towards bringing historically disadvantaged Capetonians back into the city, from where they were so violently removed by the apartheid regime and predecessors of the City of Cape Town.

We do not believe that the sale of state land to private buyers, that will use the land to the exclusion of most Capetonians, is correct or just, considering the history of Sea Point. We note as very strange and questionable, that the Provincial government has declared the Tafelberg site in Sea Point “surplus” to government needs, despite a request from, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements for the site to be reserved for social and affordable housing.

We urge Premier Helen Zille and her provincial cabinet, to place the correcting of the crime of apartheid first and foremost in her mind, when she considers the use of “surplus” state land in Central Cape Town, the inner suburbs, especially in areas such as Sea Point, and along the Southern Suburbs main Road. We are thus disappointed to note that the Southern Suburbs main road has not been included in the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Human Settlement Plan (as per the 2016/2016 review). This omission further drives home, the need to use state owned land to correct apartheid spatial patterns, where this land is located in established economic areas, from where historically disadvantaged were forced out of, and from where they were banned from residing.

This social and economic exclusion drives most of the social ills (Gangsterism, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, Violent Crime, Prostitution, Unemployment etc) we as churches and our partner non profit organisations have to deal with on a regular basis, with little assistance from the state, over the last 22 years. The time it takes to commute to and from home and work detrimentally affects quality family bonding time, where parents find it difficult to be home to help their children with their homework. There is time to broaden one’s knowledge via further studies, and lack of rest due to the stresses and pressures of traveling ever increasing long distances affects the health of congregants.

In this regard, we note that Tafelberg Remedial School, at 355 Main Road, is a property of 1.7 hectares, which is roughly the size of two rugby fields and which we believe is adequate and suitable for a social housing development of up to 341 affordable residential units.

As a church and a community scarred by the brutality of the apartheid regime’s forced removals, the brunt of dispossession and segregation, the distances we have to travel to and from work, and search for employment, due to apartheid spatial planning, we object to the sale of the Tafelberg site in Sea Point, as we believe it can be best used for social affordable housing for the poor and working class, most of whom are historically disadvantaged Capetonians.

It is our considered belief, that the use of state property within well located established economic areas, from which historically disadvantaged Capetonians were forcibly removed, can be used for housing needs, and in this way be the first step in the creation of a truly inclusive Cape Town.

We thus hope that we will be able to report back to our congregations, across Cape Town, the Western Cape, and South Africa, that our objection to the sale of state land to private developers, has been speedily accepted and that state land in well located and established economic areas, in the inner city and inner suburbs from where historically disadvantaged were forcibly removed, will be used for social and affordable housing.

Kind Regards,

Rev. E Theunissen

Vice President MCSA

Rev. L Erasmus

PB Representative

8 June 2016

PDF here.


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