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Memorandum of Protest: Good Hope Centre Saga-SACTWU to Protest against City PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 00:00


Press Release: Immediate

Memorandum of Protest: Good Hope Centre Saga-SACTWU to Protest against City

Delivered to the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Ms. Patricia De Lille, by the Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU)

Wednesday 15 April 2015.

We, some recent contestants of the SACTWU Annual Spring Queen Pageant and joined by a number of our duly elected shop stewards, are gathered here today on behalf of our 30 000 members in the Western Cape, to express our disappointment and dissatisfaction at the City of Cape Town’s unilaterally imposed plans to outsource the Good Hope Centre.

This is, at this stage, just a ‘Warning Protest’. Hence we have kept it small for now.

For decades, we have hosted our Annual Spring Queen Pageant in the Good Hope Centre. Thousands of clothing, textile and leather workers participate in this event very year. Our event is now under threat, and stand the danger of not being hosted this year, during its 40th anniversary.

Our members, clothing, textile and leather workers from the poorest parts of the City, do not accept the high-handed unilateral manner in which a premier event of workers who make such an important contribution to the local Provincial economy, has been bluntly shunned.

This event is critical to the union’s ‘Proudly South African’ buy local campaign. It promotes local jobs, and local industry.

As a decade-long premier user of the Good Hope Centre, we are disgusted that the City has not even had the common decency to consult with us. By treating us in the manner in which it has, it appears to us that ‘Local is not Lekka’ for this City.

We have brought with us petitions from 49 local clothing, textile and leather factories, signed by 5733 workers collected on Friday and Monday alone, expressing their support for our ‘warning protest’ here today. There are many other such petitions still being completed at factory level.

We have opted, at this stage, not to physically let our thousands of members join the protest, in order to help minimise disruption to production in our work places. We have done so in the hope that, as a first step, this “Warning Protest” might yield constructive positive results.

However, should our concerns not be addressed, we might have no option but to follow this ‘warning protest’ with a much larger protest or strike, involving thousands of our members.

Since November last year, the union made serious attempts to book the venue for our Annual Spring Queen Pageant for this year. It is a procedure which we have followed successfully over many decades.

This time however, we were simply advised by the facility management that they were not allowed to accept any bookings for the venue. Despite our continued attempts to find out the reasons why we could not book the venue, we were only advised by City officials that they were under Executive instructions not to accept any bookings for the venue.

In February this year, the City sent letters to the union advising that the venue will no longer be available for hire from April this year.

A subsequent Cape Times front page report shed more light on the City’s plans for the Good Hope Centre. The report outlined that it is to be used as a film studio for the next three years. This was the first time, indirectly through the media, that we were alerted to this decision by the City.

In various interactions with Councillors and City of Cape Town officials, they only sought to focus on alternative venues for our Annual Spring Queen Pageant.

As a premier user of the Good Hope Centre for over three decades, we are disappointed that we were not consulted on the future usage of the facility and the opportunity to present alternatives for the challenges which the City claims faces the Good Hope Centre.

We are disgusted in the unilateral manner in which the City has decided what the fate of the facility should be, without any public participation or input. Do our views not matter?

It seems the interests of poor people on the Cape Flats means nothing to this City.

It has now become apparent, through interactions with City of Cape Town councillors and officials, that the leasing of the Good Hope Centre to an international film company for at least the next three years, is a fait accompli.

We have noted recent announcements by the City that a public participation process will be introduced. Why then shut us out, when such a process has not yet been completed yet? In fact, it has not even started yet, nor has any of its process details been announced anywhere.

We can only come to one conclusion: the City Executive has made up its mind, and a public participation process will just be a sham.

We demand:

1.    That the Mayor and the City immediately announce the practical details of a public participation process to consult with the people of Cape Town on the best way forward for the Good Hope Centre.

2.    That the Mayor immediately stops any further planning and commitments to any film studio or any other private entity with regards to the future of the Good Hope Centre until the public participation process and outcomes are concluded.

3.    That SACTWU be allowed the use of the facility for its 40th anniversary Annual Spring Queen Pageant, this year.

4.    We call on the Mayor to respond to our demands within 7 days from today, failing which SACTWU will engage with other interested community organisations with the same concerns and consider further protest action to highlight our demands.


For comment kindly contact SACTWU’s Mr Fachmy Abrahams,  Coordinator: Office of the General Secretary, on 0825222386 or office number 0214474570.


THE IMAGES FROM THE PROTEST CAN BE FOUND HERE

Issued by

Andre Kriel

General Secretary

SACTWU