Bo-Kaap Interdicted For Protesting For Their Community

Bo-kaap in the old Malay quarter of Cape Town South Africa with Signal Hill behind the colorful homes just before sunset

The Bo-Kaap community was interdicted by one of the developers who are seeking to gentrify the community. On July 4, the Blok Urban Living company filed an interdict against various Bo-Kaap community associations as well as the City of Cape Town. The interdict was regarding alleged trespassing by Bo-Kaap residents over a development in the area. The Daily Vox team rounds up.

On Friday, the Western Cape High Court granted the development company the interdict against “all other persons trespassing, unlawfully conducting themselves or attempting to trespass or unlawfully conduct themselves.”

Osman Shabodien from the Bo-Kaap Civic Association told The Daily Vox in an interview that: “The interdict was given last Wednesday and the community moving forward is basically we went to court where the interim interdict was granted. The rest must be contested by the 15 or 17th of August.”

The judge ordered that a meeting must take place between the Blok Company, Bo-Kaap representative Sheik Dawood Terblanche and the South African Human Rights Commission within the next 10 days.

On Monday, July 9 the community held a meeting to discuss the interdict and the way forward.

Shabodien said: “What we basically decided last night at the meeting was the question of us looking at a way forward by telling ourselves listen we can’t be sitting in this position purely because the court’s order makes it obligatory for us to do certain things. Like from the interdict we got two reps from the community that now have to liaise with the builders and developers in order to make our day-to-day lives easier. Like the noise. The whole question of jamming up our roads, of heavy vehicles. So it’s quite a disturbance in our community so that’s the one thing the two reps must do. They are ordered by court to do that. But we are saying going forward is we must be able to match them legally. Like taking to court and saying listen this is now enough.”

With regards to the meeting with the company and the SAHRC, Shabodien said: “Well I think last night’s meeting settled. The court has given ten working days so between that and last night’s meeting we laid the basis of how it should happen. The community is very suspicious with the whole idea of talking openly to developers because they might take it as an acceptance of them being around. Our talking to developers has got nothing to with accepting them being around. We still don’t want them around.”

The Bo-Kaap community have been protesting for the past few months over the gentrification and development of their community by the City of Cape Town and private developers.

The Bo-Kaap Community Is Fighting For Its Life Against Developers And Gentrifiers

Shakirah Dramat from Bo-Kaap Rise had previously told The Daily Vox about how the various developments that were going up were affecting the Bo-Kaap community. Dramat said the developments have brought with them a lot of inconveniences in terms of parking problems, lack of affordable housing and congestion.

“Why has the City not made affordable or low-cost housing available for people living in the city? Why, when four or five generations of my family before me grew up in this area, built this city am I not allowed an affordable piece of land? Is it because I am no rich enough or is it because my skin is not white enough?” said Dramat.

Dramat said that even when the community gives their comment to the City and the developers, it is never taken into consideration. Their protests fall on deaf ears as the developments still get passed.

“No matter how many signatures we get, how many times we go to court, no matter how hard we try to stand up to them. The reality is that big development companies have millions to throw at the best lawyers to get out of something but a small community like us where the majority of people are from a lower to middle class income can’t afford to spend millions on lawyers to represent us in court. So ultimately they will always win because they have better resources,” she said.

Shabodien said: “Put it this way they are one of many operating in Bo-Kaap. But Blok has fourteen developments in Cape Town so they are quite a biggie type of situation. They come with money and arrogance. It’s like saying who are you people to stop when we want to build. That is the whole challenge we are not just fighting arrogance, we are fighting money.”

As for whether the City has responded to the community in any way, he says: “The City itself is the main culprit to all the type of happening. What the City did is send our councillor back into the community but they didn’t do anything. I think one of the worst atrocities is committed under the bylaws that the City has. The development bylaws of 2015 says they don’t have to consult communities, they don’t have to consult anybody if the development is within the zoning rights.”

Featured image via Wikicommons