Ysterplaat land grab attempt foiled

Backyard dwellers came armed with placards demanding housing to the Brooklyn Ysterplaat and Rugby Ratepayers meeting last week.
City law enforcement and neighbourhood watch members thwarted an attempted land grab in Ysterplaat last week.
The City has now posted security guards to watch the old rugby field on the corner of De Mist Street.
More than 50 backyard dwellers carrying poles moved onto the field to mark out plots last Friday.
They had voiced their plan the day before after a Brooklyn Ysterplaat and Rugby Ratepayers’ Association (BYRRA) meeting at Ysterplaat Primary School.
At the meeting, Ward 55 councillor Fabian Ah-Sing, responding to a question from local Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Craig Ogle, said there were no plans for new social housing in the area.
“I’m struggling to provide proper housing in Albow Gardens as it is,” he said.
After the meeting, backyarders met in the school’s quad where Brooklyn resident Raymond Thorpe, standing on the roof of his car and using a loudspeaker, encouraged them to invade the rugby field, taking poles and sticks.
According to Mr Thorpe, he started a community watch, One Call Away, two years ago and patrols the area in his car, helping the needy.
He told Tabletalk the backyarders had come to him for help.   

“People are willing to pay for electricity and sewage. They are willing to pay for Nutec structures to be put up on their plots,” he said.

They did not want a “squatter camp”, he said, adding that a 9m x 9m plot was all that was needed for a 3m x 6m home with some space for fencing.

One could easily find 400 families in the area in need of housing added Mr Ogle.

The small crowd of backyarders, some with placards demanding housing, applauded Mr Thorpe. But shortly after the backyarders made their move the next day, the City’s anti-land invasion unit and the Brooklyn and Ysterplaat Neighbourhood Watch (BYNW) arrived and quickly sent them packing.

Air Force Base Ysterplaat security personnel also monitored the situation. Mr Ah-Sing said only a small section of the field was City owned; the rest belonged to Province.

“We are aware that they will continue with their efforts, but, rest assured, the City of Cape has availed the necessary resources and is on standby,” he said.

The field previously had two security guards on site 24/7; now it has eight. It was a temporary measure until calm was restored, said Mr Ah-Sing.

He thanked residents for alerting him when the land grab started as well as the neighbourhood watch for its help.

“Other open areas in the ward are being monitored as well,” he said.

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