Right2Know activists demand more access to information

25 05 2011

May 25 2011 at 11:26am – IOL


ct R2K Protest 6969 (16133275)

Regina Graham

DESPITE the rain, 40 Right2Know protesters gathered outside the Civic Centre yesterday to demand access to information from local and national governments.

Community organisers from the Blikkiesdorp, Zille-Raine Heights, Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign and the Mandela Park backyaders partnered with the Right2KNow organisation to submit applications to gain access to information about housing delivery and resettlement plans.

“Three communities demand access to information about things like budgets and how money is going to be allocated. There is a lack of transparency and a lot of secrets within the community and city,” said Tinashe Njani, the campaign administrator.

The group submitted Promotion of Access to Information Act applications to the City of Cape Town, the provincial and national departments of Human Settlements.

They are demanding access to budget reports, resettlement plans for families facing eviction, housing allocation plans and documents showing land ownership in their communities.

Organisers want to know who is going to benefit from houses that have been allocated to people in their communities and demand proper houses.

“In Blikkiesdorp there are four families sharing one toilet and that is inhumane. That is our issue there,” said Blikkiesdorp committee spokesman Willy Heyn.

They also want to know when they are going to be moved from the informal settlement they occupy now.

“We are being handled like criminals and we are not criminals. All we want is information and want to know what the city is going to do with us.”

After the protest, the group walked to Parliament, where organisers attended a meeting of a committee considering the Protection of Information Bill, to silently protest against the bill, “a symptom and a symbol of much broader problems with transparency … ”.

In 30 days they plan to return to check what the city is to do for them and may protest again.

regina.graham@inl.co.za

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