Housing activists interrupt council meeting

Protesters demand outcome of investigation into sale of prime City-owned land to GrowthPoint

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Photo of protesters at city council meeting
Reclaim the City activists briefly disrupted a Cape Town City Council meeting on Thursday. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

About 20 members of Reclaim the City (RTC), a housing activist group, protested inside a city council meeting at the Cape Town Civic Centre on Thursday afternoon.

The organisers sat above the gallery and erupted in commotion at about 12:30pm.

Several members were pointing and shouting at council members down below. Their banners read: “Ian Neilson gives R140 million gift to developers” and “Remember Site B auction”.

Neilson was the Mayco Member for Finance responsible for the City’s property sales in 2016. In that year the City sold prime land (known as Site B) on Cape Town’s Foreshore to GrowthPoint Properties.

The property appears to have been sold for about R140 million less than it was worth. Housing activists have argued that development on the site could have been used for affordable housing, but instead the City has, in effect, subsidised a large company.

Organisers chanted “Reclaim the city” as security ushered them out of the room. Law enforcement seized their banners.

Activist Nkosikhona Swartbooi said that the point of the action was to remind the council of the lack of details regarding the forensic investigation looking into the controversial Foreshore deal.

“This is public money. We can’t have the City investigating itself and not informing the public,” he said.

This article will be updated with comment from the City and GrowthPoint, both of whom have been sent questions.

TOPICS:  Housing Site B

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