Protest halts housing project in Langa

News24 Correspondent

Cape Town - Construction on the City of Cape Town’s flagship hostel transformation project in Langa has been suspended due to ongoing protest action in the area, the City said in a statement on Tuesday.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

"While we respect the rights of residents to protest, this aggressive and illegal behaviour is utterly unacceptable," said mayoral committee member for human settlements, councillor Benedicta van Minnen.

She said that a group of youths campaigning for a change in the agreed-upon housing allocation for this hostel project had intimidated members of the project steering committee.

"It must be noted that engagements about the allocation of units and the project in general have been in-depth, inclusive and thorough over months. A clear process was agreed upon.

"The City has met with the protesting group, which comprises approximately 30 individuals, but they have refused to co-operate," said Van Minnen.

The 463 units, which are being built on the Old Depot Site in Langa, form part of the first phase of a project, which will ultimately see the construction of more than 1 300 units in the next five years, the statement said.

“We regard this as one of the largest redress projects in the Western Cape. We are aiming to eradicate the horrific apartheid-era hostels. Some of these families have been living in the terrible conditions prevailing in the Langa hostels for the past 40 years and we will not allow this group of protesters to delay our project."

It is expected that the next phase of the project will consider qualifying beneficiaries, including backyard dwellers, from the broader Langa community.