Home South Africa Stellenbosch backyards threaten to take over golf course

Stellenbosch backyards threaten to take over golf course


Members of the Stellenbosch Backyard Residents Forum marched to Stellenbosch Town Hall demanding affordable housing.

  • Backyard residents of Stellenbosch marched to Stellenbosch Council on Wednesday to hand in a housing petition with almost 1,000 signatures.
  • The Stellenbosch Backyard Residents Forum says land promised to them for housing by the mayor has now been sold to a private developer.
  • They say that if the municipality does not respond within seven days, they will occupy the Stellenbosch Golf Club.

Stellenbosch backyarders say they will occupy Stellenbosch Golf Club if their housing demands are not heard.

Around 50 members of the Stellenbosch Backyard Residents Forum marched to the town hall on Wednesday demanding progress on the housing they said the council had promised them.

They live in shacks in the backyards of houses in Clootsville, paying rent between 800 and 2,500 rand a month to the house owners. The forum submitted a petition to the municipality, signed by 966 people, with the demand to set aside several plots of land for housing for backyards.

The forum said that in nearby Kayamandi, the municipality bought land and built houses on it for people who occupied the land. But their own demands, they say, have been ignored.

“Should we also start an illegal land invasion until we are listened to?” – it was said in the appeal.

“If we don’t get any feedback within seven days, we will definitely break/invade the golf course,” they said.

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Forum Secretary P.J. Pletjies told GroundUp that backyard dwellers have been working with the municipality since 2011. According to Pletjies, the mayor identified a plot of land in Klootsville, and backyard dwellers were promised to build homes there.

But he said the land has now been sold to a private developer.

“We know they’ll pay attention if we invade the golf course because that’s where rich people go,” Plaatjies said.

“Our people are suffering,” said Christine Stein, the forum’s treasurer. “We are being blocked by the municipality, they are selling our land to outsiders, and it will stop this year. We have been peaceful for long enough.”

Stein said the security complexes being built around Clutesville are not accessible to backyard residents.

Stellenbosch Municipality spokesperson Stuart Grobbelaar told GroundUp that the municipality would respond to the memorandum within seven days. He said that the municipality regularly participates in the forum.

According to Grobbelaar, the municipality has identified several parcels of land in Clotesville and submitted a feasibility study funding application to the Department of Human Settlements.

“Localities are a national and provincial competence and mandate,” he said.

“Municipalities across the country act simply as agents for the implementation of housing projects based on funding received from these areas of government.

“Stellenbosch Municipality provides as many housing opportunities as possible with the limited resources we receive.”

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