South Africa: Site of Struggle - Dual Battle for Housing and Dignity Unfolds in District Six


In District Six, Cape Town two groups are seeking housing and dignity -- long-standing land claimants and more recently, a group of backyard dwellers that has moved into an empty field which the City of Cape Town now has an interdict against.

Contestation over housing is rife in District Six, Cape Town where occupiers are moving onto municipal land that the city said is reserved for land claimants, who were forcibly removed under the Group Areas Act.

On 1 May, the Western Cape high court issued an interdict against one such group occupying a portion of land in District Six. The occupation was started by the Social Liberals for Backyard Dwellers (SLBD), a group made up of persons on housing waiting lists but who have yet to receive housing from any sphere of government. The SLBD claims the occupation was started by people who were evicted from their rental homes on the Cape Flats, due to them not being able to pay rent during the Covid-19 lockdown.

'They must go to constructive work'

On a field adjacent to the District Six campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) lies the occupied site, which has no visible taps or...

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