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Want to help the residents of Bromwell Street? Here’s how you do it

As Cape Town residents continue their fight against property developers and the City, campaigners have stepped in to support their eviction battle to Wolverivier.


Reclaim the City Facebook

People are bombarding the City of Cape Town with letters and emails in solidarity with the residents of Bromwell Street, who face eviction.

Property developers The Woodstock Hub bought land in the area in 2013, with over two dozen residents protesting against the City’s attempts to move them 30 kilometres out of the CBD to Wolverivier as a result.

Activist group Reclaim The City is calling on people to contact councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral committee member for transport & urban development, who represents the ruling Democratic Alliance.

They see the move as a re-enactment of Apartheid planning, with black and coloured families pushed out of the CBD to grim wasteland outside the city and away from vital services.

Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, has also been accused of being dishonest about the relocations.

Among those to have commented on the Reclaim The City Facebook page so far, Stuart Hoosen-Lewis described the evictions as “morally unconscionable.”

He continued: “As a resident of this city, this is not the kind of place I want to live if we are simply going to follow in the footsteps of a government that my parents fought against, that so many South Africans fought and died against.

“As a representative of our democratically-elected government, you should be having sleepless nights about your complicity in this.”

Cara Mazzola, addressing councillor Herron and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, added: “The obvious truth is that gentrification disproportionately affects people of colour. These evictions are eerily reminiscent of the District 6 forced removals.

This comes a week after a video was published online showing drone footage of the proposed relocation camp for evicted residents, on farmland 30 kilometres north of Cape Town.

On the footage, 29-year-old Charnell Commando, a lifelong resident of Bromwell Street and campaigner against the removals, says: “This is my neighbourhood, this is where I grew up, what I know.

“The mayor says ‘the city works for you, for the people’, but the mayor hasn’t done anything for us in Bromwell.”

Residents have been locked in a court battle to fend off the evictions, with Advocate Sheldon Magardie last week arguing that the accessibility of amenities including public transport, schooling and healthcare was insufficient in Wolverivier.

He said: “While it’s not unique to Cape Town, the City is facing one of the worst housing affordability crises.”

Deeming the argument inadequate, Acting Judge Leslie Weinkove said: “If they are given land in the area, what about the hundreds of thousands of other people who would also love to stay in Woodstock?”

On the residents’ campaign, making direct reference to Commando, he added: “How does this person know what the cost implications will be on these properties?

“She doesn’t know what the City’s budget is; she is just a kitchen assistant.

To join the protest and register your opposition, Reclaim The City suggest emailing brett.herron@capetown.gov.za and mayor.mayor@capetown.gov.za.