The headline “United we stand” in the photo June 9th was interesting for several reasons.

All of my relatives once lived and were evicted from District Six, Claremont, Harfield village and Constantia. Over decades most gave up on being recompensed. We went on with life, sublimating the pain and rebuilding from afresh. Today the vast majority are ratepayers and live in their own homes.

So, when I study the predicament of those tenants being evicted from De Waal Drive in District Six I am sympathetic to the ratepayers who subsidize the tenants. Since the income of the City of Cape Town is limited to rates, electricity, water and traffic fine increases etc. it is ordinary ratepayers who pay for everything that the poor gets for free.

The free housing, electricity and water in Khayelitsha, Pelican Park and Mitchells Plain etc are paid for by the ratepayers of Cape Town. Thus if the city and provincial government can get more income from rental housing under their control, we can build more homes for the poorest of the poor. Those protesters must realize that they are unduly benefitting from ratepayers and they are not from the poorest of the poor who live in shacks. Also, the tenants will receive free housing in Pelican Park.

So what is wrong with Pelican Park, there are thousands of other people who live there. I have family that live in nearby areas and who pay rates. What makes the tenants in De Waal Drive so special?

Local government is planning to rent out the renovated flats to economically active people who can pay more rentals. Most new tenants will probably be brown and black people so this is not an issue of race. This is an issue of tenants who want to be bankrolled by ratepayers. Those tenants who lament on long tenure, is 35 years of subsidised living not enough?

In the words of the wise, pity is one of the noblest emotions available to humans; self-pity is possibly the most contemptible, it is an emotional disease that distorts our perception of reality, a narcotic that leaves its addicts wasted and ruined.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress

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