Affordable housing activists occupy Rondebosch Golf Club

21 March 2019 - 12:03 By Dave Chambers
Reclaim the City activists occupy Rondebosch Golf Club in Cape Town on March 21 2019.
Reclaim the City activists occupy Rondebosch Golf Club in Cape Town on March 21 2019.
Image: Reclaim the City

About 200 activists occupied a Cape Town golf course on Thursday, calling for it to be used for affordable housing.

Reclaim the City spokesperson Zacharia Mashele said the activists got into Rondebosch Golf Club "through the back gate" after the main gate was closed as they approached.

Reclaim the City activist Deena Bosch awaits a 'sod-turning' ceremony after construction tape was used to mark out territory at Rondebosch Golf Club on March 21 2019.
Reclaim the City activist Deena Bosch awaits a 'sod-turning' ceremony after construction tape was used to mark out territory at Rondebosch Golf Club on March 21 2019.
Image: Reclaim the City

"We are here at the clubhouse explaining to golfers why this land should be released," said Mashele. "There are more than 200 of us here, with flags, placards  and banners."

Mashele said City of Cape Town metro police officers were monitoring the protest, which was proceeding peacefully.

The activists were due to listen to Nick Budlender, one of the Ndifuna Ukwazi researchers who produced a report on Tuesday calling on the City of Cape Town to redistribute publicly-owned land such as Rondebosch Golf Club.

The club, with about 500 members, pays R1,000 a year to lease the 45ha between the M5 and the Black River, and Budlender said it was typical of land across Cape Town that was used in an "inefficient, exclusive and unsustainable manner".

One of the Reclaim the City protesters who occupied Rondebosch Golf Club on March 21 2019.
One of the Reclaim the City protesters who occupied Rondebosch Golf Club on March 21 2019.
Image: Reclaim the City

In a statement, Reclaim the City said it had "taken over Rondebosch golf course to protest the City of Cape Town’s failure to redistribute public land for affordable housing".

It added: "Our best land is still captured by a few wealthy people while the majority of black and coloured residents continue to live on the outskirts of the city, far from good infrastructure, services and job opportunities.

"Rondebosch Golf Course is as big as 45 soccer fields and could house thousands of families. Instead, it has been leased to a private club for R1,000 a year, while membership costs R15,750 a year.

"National government has failed to redistribute land. The provincial government has failed to redistribute land. And the City of Cape Town has failed to redistribute land. There are empty fields, golf courses, bowling greens and parking lots across well-located areas."

Mashele said the demonstrators wanted deputy mayor Ian Neilson to explain his plan for the golf course.

Neilson has made several public commitments about releasing city-owned land, including golf courses, for affordable housing.

"He must come to Rondebosch golf course before 1pm and account for why the council is failing to meet its obligations and what he will do," said the statement.

TimesLIVE has asked the City of Cape Town and Rondebosch Golf Club to comment.


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