Today members of the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) were removed from the council gallery during the tabling of Cape Town’s 2017/18 draft budget. SJC members staged a silent protest against the City of Cape Town’s (CoCT’s) budget that continues to exclude the city’s poor and working class. The City of Cape Town is failing its residents.

SJC members put on masks of Mayor Patricia de Lille’s face and held up posters that indicated what the CoCT’s budget really says. The posters included statements such as “Cape Town is not for poor people” and “My budgets are always anti-poor”.

Our actions during the Mayor’s draft budget speech were motivated by the City’s exclusion of poor communities from the budget process. In 2015, when the SJC ran a campaign to aid Khayelitsha residents in making submissions to the City’s budget, these submissions were blatantly misrepresented by the CoCT. In 2016 thousands of submissions from poor and working-class communities across the City were disregarded. This exclusionary response shows how the City refuses to recognise informal settlement residents as full citizens of Cape Town.  

In her mayoral address, de Lille mentioned the “devastating fire” in Imizamo Yethu. According to de Lille, the City is “using all our resources” to rebuild Imizamo Yethu, including electrification and communal toilets. Promises such as these were made in 2013, when BM section in Khayelitsha burnt down. To date, the City has not delivered on these promises. We should not be rebuilding conditions that are in direct conflict with our rights to human dignity.

The budget structure is a reflection of how the CoCT treats its poor, working-class citizens: it refuses to recognise them as citizens at all. This is unacceptable, and we will resist this injustice.



For comment please contact:

Axolile Notywala

Head of Local Government Programme

074 386 1584

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