Residents say no to City of CT’s ‘super-blocking’ plans

The super-blocking project includes widening roads between rows of shacks to allow emergency vehicles to pass through.

Imizamo Yethu residents protested against the City of Cape Town's super-blocking plans and called for access to electricity, water and sanitation, on 15 August 2017. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Scores of Imizamo Yethu residents gathered outside the Civic Centre in Cape Town on Tuesday in protest against the city's "super-blocking" efforts.

The super-blocking project includes widening roads between rows of shacks to allow emergency vehicles to pass through.

It's part of an initiative to stem the spread of fires after a devastating blaze ripped through the area in March this year.

Residents living in the Dontse Yakhe section of Imizamo Yethu have handed over a memorandum to City of Cape Town officials, opposing the municipality's process. The crowd has since dispersed.

Violent demonstrations started earlier this year when law enforcement officials removed 52 structures standing in the way of the city's efforts to widen spaces between shacks.

Protesters are also demanding access to basic services, including water, electricity and sanitation.

WATCH: Imizamo Yethu residents protest outside Civic Centre

While some Imizamo Yethu residents staged a demonstration at the Cape Town Civic Centre, Mayor Patricia de Lille and officials switched on electricity in a section of the area near Hout Bay.

The City says the project in fire-affected Madiba Square has taken three months to complete, of which 15 days were lost due to violent protests against the municipality's super-blocking process.

Officials say work is continuing to deliver services such as water, sanitation, electricity, wider pathways and roads in the fire-affected area.

Spokesperson for the mayor Zara Nicholson explains: “The mayor wants to thank the community for their patience and assures them that we will be doing all we can to proceed with all plans as fast as possible. In Madiba Square, a total budget of R6.75 million has been spent on electrification of 181 dwellings of which 14% are new connections."

The City has confirmed a representative in the mayor's office has received a memorandum submitted by a group of Imizamo Yethu residents.

Nicholson adds: "We have assured the group that they are welcome to join all the other community leaders who are on board and are working with the City to bring progress to Imizamo Yethu. The list of services that they are demanding in their memorandum is precisely what the city is delivering through the super-blocking project.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)