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23 November 2010

The Uprising of Hangberg Review

Long-running tensions between residents of Hangberg in Cape Town's Houtbay and city council authorities once again boiled over in September 2010, with police firing rubber bullets (some claim live ammunition as well) on residents, who responded (or initiated) with rocks and petrol bombs. Situated above the bay, Hangberg is a neighbourhood of mainly working-class ‘coloured’ people. Fishing is the area's primary economic activity, stretching back several generations in Houtbay.

The city’s story is that it had an agreement with the community, struck in 2008 with Helen Zille, then mayor of Cape Town, now premier of the Western Cape. Development was on the cards as long as there were no ‘new’ arrivals building temporary dwellings on and above a fire-break on the mountain. The city then discovered that there were a number of ‘illegal’ structures on the fire-break. At a meeting on 17 September 2010, Zille insisted that residents should take down those dwellings. She was heckled and left the meeting with the issue unresolved.

To read further, go here.

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