100 signatures reached
To: Executive Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis
WE DEMAND THE CITY OF CAPE TOWN WITHDRAW THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL UNLAWFUL OCCUPATION BY-LAW
The City of Cape Town has to plan for informality. To us, “planning for informality” means addressing the socio-economic and political conditions and the housing backlog facing the city through the rapid release of public land, empty office spaces, and public and private buildings that remain unused and underutilized. This should be done to build decent housing for the poor. Until the City finds sustainable and viable mechanisms to deal with its failure of the 365 000 housing backlog, informal households will continue to grow.
As shown in the City’s human settlement strategy, only a minority of informal settlements are part of formal upgrading programs. It is worth noting that housing developments tend to be on land far from the city’s central areas, where high-density housing could be developed. The remaining majority of informal settlements remain in a policy vacuum. The result is an ongoing and haphazard attempt to control informal housing through rogue law enforcement units and enacting legislation that criminalises poor and working-class people while the housing shortage continues. The City’s by-law on unlawful land occupation seeks to bypass the protections of PIE. It also provides the so-called “City officials” with large amounts of arbitrary and discretionary power over poor and working-class people.
Why is this important?
The unlawful occupation by-law, gazetted on the 14th of February 2022 undermines the constitution and circumvents the PIE ACT. This by-law deviates from the Human Settlements Strategy which provides that the City should “proactively plan for informality.” The Unlawful Occupation By-law contradicts this aim, it seeks to criminalise poor and working-class people who have fallen through the cracks of the city’s housing waiting list. The City’s by-law on unlawful land occupation seeks to bypass the protections of PIE. It also provides the so-called “City officials” with large amounts of arbitrary and discretionary power over poor and working-class people.