Stellenbosch backyards threaten to take over a golf course

Members of the Stellenbosch Backyard Dwellers' Forum marched to Stellenbosch Town Hall, calling for affordable housing.

Members of the Stellenbosch Backyard Dwellers’ Forum marched to Stellenbosch Town Hall, calling for affordable housing.

  • Stellenbosch backyards marched to Stellenbosch Municipality on Wednesday to deliver a housing petition with nearly 1,000 signatures.
  • The Stellenbosch Backyard Dwellers Forum says ‘the land promised to them by the Mayor for housing has now been sold to private developers.
  • They say if the municipality does not respond within seven days, they will occupy Stellenbosch Golf Club.

Stellenbosch residents say if their housing requests are not heard, they will occupy Stellenbosch Golf Club.

About 50 members of the Stellenbosch Residents’ Backyard Forum marched to the town hall on Wednesday to demand progress on housing projects they say the municipality promised them.

They live in bungalows in the backyards of houses in Cloytsville, paying rent of between R800 and R2500 per month to the homeowners. The forum handed over a petition to the municipality, signed by 966 people, demanding the allocation of several plots of land for backyard housing.

In neighboring Kayammandi, the forum said, the municipality had acquired land and built houses on it for people who occupied the land. But they said their demands were ignored.

“Should we also start illegally conquering lands before we are heard?” They said in the petition.

They said, “If we don’t receive any feedback within seven days, we will definitely disable/hack the golf course.”

Read | The city is appealing a court order preventing the eviction of the shack dwellers who live on the soccer field in Tembisa

Forum Secretary PJ Plaatjies told GroundUp that Backyards has been working with the municipality since 2011. According to Plaatjies, a plot of land in Cloetesville was designated by the mayor and Backyards was promised homes there.

But he said the land has now been sold to private developers.

“We know they’ll be interested when we invade the golf course because the rich go there,” Platjes said.

“Our people are suffering,” said Christine Stein, treasurer of the Forum. “We have been banned by the municipality, they are selling our land to outsiders and this year it will stop. We have been peaceful long enough.”

Stein said the security complexes being built around Cloetsville are unaffordable for a backyard.

Stellenbosch municipality spokesman Stuart Grobbelaar told GroundUp that the municipality will respond to the memo within seven days. He said the municipality works with the forum regularly.

According to Grobbelaar, the municipality has identified several parcels of land in Cloitsville and has applied for funding for feasibility studies from the Department of Human Settlements.

“Human settlements are a national and regional competence and mandate,” he said.

Municipalities across the country only act as implementing agents for housing projects based on funding received from these government departments.

“Stellenbosch Municipality provides as many housing opportunities as possible with the limited resources we receive.”


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