Bonteheuwel residents have created a petition in outrage following the City of Cape Town’s decision to auction off their newly revamped peace garden.
Community members revamped a vacant plot of land once used as an illegal dumping ground into the Bonteheuwel peace garden in early 2019. In a Facebook post, Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies member Soraya Salie wrote, “that piece of land was a dump. The City never bothered to clean it, nor do something about it. The Community took the initiative to clean it up and volunteered to turn it into a Peace Garden.”
The community space was inaugurated on June 16, 2019, and the opening was attended by various community, interfaith and environmental organisations. However, the plot of land was recently put up for auction by the City of Cape Town on September 2, 2019. This has sparked anger among many Bonteheuwel residents. Residents claim there was no public consideration in the auction, although local DA ward councillor Angus Mckenzie denies this.
Community members are rallying people to support their cause through a Change.org petition. In their petition, titled Save Bonteheuwel Peace Garden, organisers call on the City of Cape Town to stop the auction. It also calls on the ward councillor to work with community members to create safe spaces in the area.
“We are tired of being referred to as a gang-ridden, crime-ridden community. As a community, we are committed to creating safe spaces, creating youth programmes, fostering social cohesion and developing Bonteheuwel into the community we know it can be,” the group writes on their petition page.
Organisers ask people to sign the petition as well as to email city representatives and inform them of their objection to the auction.