CT CBD march called off

Cape Town has been granted a court interdict to prevent an illegal protest in the CBD.

FILE: Protesters demonstrating in front of the Provincial Legislature in the Cape Town CBD on 30 October 2013. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Town Informal Settlements Organisation (CTISO) says calling off today's protest march in the city centre was the right thing to do.

Activist Loyiso Nkohla says protest leaders will now apply for a permit to march next Monday.

He says if they're going to fight for their rights, they will go about it in the correct and lawful manner.

The decision comes after the City of Cape Town was granted a court interdict to prevent the illegal protest march from going ahead.

The municipality approached the Western Cape High Court this week as a last resort to stop the march.

The city then appealed to CTISO to respect the court's ruling.

However, police will still be out in their numbers across the CBD should the interdict be ignored.

Residents of various townships and informal settlements had been expected to march to the Western Cape legislature later this morning.

A previous demonstration turned violent several weeks back, with protesters going on the rampage.

The protest action is centred around demands for housing and proper sanitation.

The Western Cape human settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela met with community leaders earlier this week in a bid to address some grievances. But nothing came of the meeting.

The department says it would have to expand its current budget drastically to eradicate the province's housing backlog.

"We would need a budget that is 35 times more than the current budget."

But the informal settlement leader Siyabulela Mafu says he doesn't buy the whole story around budget constraints.

"I don't believe that there is no money. There is money available."

Marchers have threatened a three-day sit-in if the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille did not receive the memorandum of grievances in person.

(Edited Leeto M. Khoza)