Cape Town - Exorbitant rates and taxes, overcrowding in flats, gentrification, and the persistent and long visits by tourist buses, are some of the issues raised with ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte, on her visit to Bo-Kaap.
Duarte, together with Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Alvin Botes, visited residents and community leaders yesterday to listen to their concerns.
The programme commenced with a meet-and-greet at the Ghoema Theatre followed by home visits, and concluded with meeting community members and leaders at the Bo-Kaap Cultural Hub.
Duarte said it was important to protect the heritage of Bo-Kaap and that they have been lobbying the minister of Arts and Culture for the protection of Bo-Kaap.
“In 2019, the community really rallied and it was wonderful to see the civic rise in the manner that it did. And it is important that civil society in the Bo- Kaap, the NGOs and the civic association work together with the ANC and rebuild a community perspective and I’m not going to mince words and say, its been very hard for us to get people to support the ANC in the Western Cape, for whatever reasons they might have,” said Duarte.
Duarte said the Minister of Arts and Culture would be visiting soon for the formalisation of around 15 buildings that have been made into heritage sites.
“If everybody can unite around it, it will make the project work. It will make sure property developers are not the ones winning in the end and to find a good mix and a good balance because that is what one needs – a way in which the community can survive, the youth can have jobs and we can advance the community’s objectives towards building a viable tourism centre.”
Duarte said it was difficult for residents and in particular, pensioners to afford rates for homes valued at around R3 million and R4 million in the area.
ANC ward councillor candidate Jacky Poking, said there was a great need for social housing to address the massive overcrowding.
“In some flats, we have 30 people living in a flat. Some of them are two bedroom flats or three bedroom flats so we have overcrowding and there’s no place for people to move because of gentrification.
“The rents are high so if you cannot stay in that overcrowded flat, you cannot think of renting a place,” said Poking.
“We are bringing up the overcrowding in our houses, heritage, as well as job opportunities and also looking at tourism. It's time that tourism serves Bo-Kaap and where tourists don’t just take from Bo-Kaap but they also leave positive things behind,” said Poking.
Bo-Kaap’s legendary sportsman, Fagmie Solomons stressed the importance of extra mural activities at schools and in the community, and appealed to Duarte to “invest in children’s education.”
Resident Baderoeniesa Bosch, 70, raised the issue of tourist buses, lack of recreational activities for children, and the need for housing.