As the local government election looms, Cape Town residents have been up in arms against the City of Cape Town’s lack of concern for the gentrification that is threatening the communal relationships that exists from Bo-Kaap to Salt River. In a show of unity, residents in Woodstock and Salt River held a meeting on Saturday to highlight how gentrification has increased rates and taxes within the areas, which has had an adverse impact on the poor and working class.
Member of the Woodstock housing assembly, Bevil Lucas explained that the meeting was directed toward uniting the community in order to establish a platform on which residents can discuss the consequences of gentrification, as well as viable solutions.
He said that while apartheid style home-demolitions have ended, close-knit communities are today driven out through economic pressure.
“In the 1980’s, it was the forced removals, now it’s the bank and court orders that is coming after the working class,” he explained.
With an increase in homeless individuals within the Woodstock and Salt River areas and the number of residents moving to other areas, Lucas affirmed that community members are impacted by the increased cost of living within the area.
“I know a property developer who is going after every house that is on the market and has been successful in securing at least eight properties in the Woodstock area alone.”
The meeting was attended by five different groupings of residents from; Alfred Road, Broomwood Road, Pine Road, Onder-die-Brug, and the Stables.
Lucas said that residents in Broomwood Road and Alfred Street have court applications to evict property developers from rental units within the area.
Some of the units have been occupied by residents who have lived in the units all their lives, but are now unable to afford the increased rental charges.
“The new tenants have now found that they can secure more rentals from far richer tenants,” he added.
Lucas further noted that a Russian investor restricts the rental of his property to immigrants.
“We are saying that together with other members of civil society, we will find ways to challenge this approach. Like we have done against the previous regime, so too will we find new ways of resisting this onslaught against the poor and the working class in the Salt River and Woodstock areas.”