Bo-Kaap community food gardeners locked out by landowners
Refilwe Moloto speaks to Soraya Booley of Sustainable Bo Kaap who say they have been locked out of a garden they started to help feed the community. The landowners however say the group has no right to be there and the site is not abandoned and is earmarked for development.
Booley explains that the non-profit organisation Sustainable Bo-Kaap began the garden in July 2020.
It was at the height of the lockdown when our community was really suffering from the economic impact of the lockdown.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
Many people living in the area are involved in the tourism, accommodation, and hospitality industry, she adds.
That industry was lockdown hard during that time and it was having an impact on food security in that area.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
That was when a group of people in the community decided to start the Sustainable Bo-Kaap project and turn a piece of land into a vegetable garden.
It was turning a piece of abandoned land that has been used for the past 50 years for rubble dumping, vice, crime, drug-taking, and gangsterism into a sustainable food garden.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
The Breakfast Show did reach out to the landowners, the Darul Falaah Study Group, who declined to be interviewed. A statement from the group to CapeTalk outlined that the land was not abandoned, and was earmarked for development. The community had not asked or been given permission to start a food garden, they said.
We have been locked out of the garden since 23 December and our members have been trying desperately to harvest the food and water the garden.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
The members eventually found a way to water the garden from the top section on Lion's Street, she says.
It is not true that we don't have consent. The issue is actually a piece of land that was bought through community fundraising for our community under the leadership of Sheik Booley in 1972.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
The purpose was to build a madrassa - Islamic school - and to benefit the poor and the needy in the community.
There is a madrassa currently she says which teaches people how to grow food at home, she says.
This has been really quite successful and the knowledge has got out there and people are beginning to grow food all over the Bo-Kaap.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
Booley disputes the claims by the Darul Falaah Study Group and some residents that this is a commercial venture.
There is nothing commercially happening there. The food is given away for free to our community.Soraya Booley - Sustainable Bo-Kaap
She says the trustees of Darul Falaah Study Group have been asked since September for their locus standi allowing them to erect the gates that have locked the community out, but to date, they have not replied.
The gardening group approached the High Court on Friday but the opposing parties entered no answering affidavits and asked for a postponement.
Listen to the interview with Soraya Booley below:
Read the statement from Darul Falaah Study Group below:
Source : Fatima Davids https://www.facebook.com/Sustainable-Bo-Kaap-106566831170722