Occupiers at what was once the South African Nationwide Circus College in Observatory are asking the Metropolis of Cape City to lease them the land they’re dwelling on. The Metropolis plans to make use of the land as a sports activities floor, saying it’s unsuitable for residential functions.
Earlier this 12 months, 30 individuals who’ve been dwelling at 2 Willow St – at what was once the South African Nationwide Circus College within the inner-city suburb of Observatory – marched towards the Metropolis of Cape City’s intention to evict them. Now the group has petitioned the Metropolis to permit them to lease the land.
In 2015 the Metropolis terminated the lease it had with Dimitri Slaverse, who based the South African Nationwide Circus College. The lease was terminated as a result of the town plans to make use of the land as a sports activities floor which is able to kind a part of the Hartleyvale sporting precinct.
“The land is required for sporting functions, so as to allow extra residents than is presently the case to entry this scarce and worthwhile sport and leisure house,” said Belinda Walker, the mayoral committee member for Group Providers and Particular Initiatives.
In 2016 Slaverse was illegally subletting the property. He was additionally accused of being violent in direction of folks occupying the land.
In a statement this month, Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for Group Providers and Well being, stated: “This group [of people living on the land] has since grown and their actions have broken the integrity of the land at this sporting house and has consequently impacted on the potential use of this house for years to come back.”
In 2019 the Metropolis went to court to get an eviction order towards the folks nonetheless on the property. The matter can be heard once more on 1 September.
Artist Shayne Taliona has been dwelling on the circus for 2 years. He stated in the event that they have been evicted from the circus he’d be homeless.
The Metropolis has supplied folks on the circus various lodging in Philippi, which is greater than 20km from the town centre.
“That’s absurd. How can they transfer us from right here and put us that far?” requested Taliona., who stated he wouldn’t go to Philippi. “I’ll simply dwell on the road.”
Moyo Uno, who additionally lives on the former circus website, stated they’d raised their grievances with the Metropolis concerning their objections to shifting to Philippi.
The 30 individuals who dwell on the land began the Willow Arts Collective (WAC), “an progressive group challenge based mostly throughout the Hartleyvale Sports activities Precinct”. The petition reads: “The Willow Arts Collective goals to lease or buy the Metropolis of Cape City-owned property previously often known as the South African Nationwide Circus, and switch it into the primary multi-use centre for heritage, arts, recreation and sustainable dwelling within the Southern Suburbs.
The Metropolis has not but responded to Willow Arts Collective’s petition, which by Tuesday 25 August had 1,520 signatures.
The Willow Arts Collective additionally goals to run a weekend farmers’ market, a backyard restaurant offering brunch and lunch to Observatory residents and a one-of-a-kind ecologically sustainable co-living and co-working atmosphere for present residents on the property.
The Improvement Motion Group, (DAG), an NGO that advocates for reasonably priced housing, supported Willow Arts Collective’s petition. “If the Metropolis can lease land for golf programs, then they need to be capable of lease it for community-led initiatives,” stated Aditya Kumar, the chief director of DAG.
Kumar was referring right here to controversy over the leasing of public land for leisure functions by the town. Following protests and petitions, this week the City of Cape Town withdrew a notice of renewal of a 10-year lease on the 49-hectare King David Mowbray Golf Club for R11,500 per year.
Badroodien said the land the Willow Arts Collective needs to lease is subsequent to the Liesbeek River, which suggests:
“It’s not appropriate for residential functions, and it will be irresponsible of the Metropolis to condone the constructing of houses on this website.
“I acknowledge that there’s a dire lack of housing alternatives, however we can’t sacrifice all open land for this want alone.”
The Observatory Civic Affiliation (OCA), which additionally helps Willow Arts Collective’s proposal to lease the land, agreed with Badroodien’s assertion that there’s a want for housing alternatives, “however this isn’t a challenge proposing housing alternatives, however a mixed multi-use centre for heritage, arts, recreation and sustainable dwelling,” said Leslie London, OCA’s chairperson. DM