MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS OF EIGHT FORESTRY COMMUNITIES IN THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
To: the President and government of South Africa
From: Seven forestry communities in the Western Cape
Date: 12 July 2012
We are members and representatives of the following forestry communities: Nuweberg, Meerlust, La Motte, Wemmershoek, Waterval, Hawequa, Lebanon and Jonkershoek. Seventeen similar communities have declared their solidarity but cannot be here today. We are desperate; we have travelled a long way to be here and at great cost. We did not come here to claim special favours. We are here for what we believe is rightfully ours.
The purpose of this memorandum is to give a brief overview of our problems and demands. We do not think this is news to government, as we have been communicating these things to government departments and officials for sixteen years.
All this time government officials have been playing hide and seek with us. They always refer us to someone else and no one wants to take responsibility for this baby. We want to say today: President Jacob Zuma, this is your baby! Please take care of it like you are caring for your other babies.
We include as part of the memorandum all the different submissions of the different communities, because although the issues are the same, the focus of different communities is not always exactly the same. In general our issues are as follows:
We want to know who are the parents of this baby.
For sixteen years we wrote letters, had meetings and even protested to get some clear answers from government. But it seems no one wants to take responsibility for the forestry communities. We are sent from pillar to post between the departments of land affairs, human settlements, public works, environmental affairs and the different municipalities. This must come to an end. Someone in government must take responsibility to negotiate with us and that person or institute must coordinate with all the other departments and levels of government. This person must ultimately be the president of South Africa.
Stop and reverse the policy of privatisation
We are the victims of privatisation. Working class communities all over the country are the victims of this policy that only benefits the rich. Reverse privatisation and let us be public sector workers again.
We want decent housing with secure tenure
Our houses are falling apart. Government is no longer maintaining them and neither can we because they do not belong to us. They need to be upgraded and maintained. We also need new housing in our communities to keep pace with population growth. We want secure tenure and ownership. No evictions.
We want land to farm and agricultural support
There is hunger in our communities. Yet we can avoid this if we could farm on the land with the necessary resources. We can actually become prosperous in this way.
We are desperate for jobs!
Unemployment is destroying our communities. It is up to 95 %, especially among the young. We want decent jobs. We want the necessary support and resources to reopen the closed factories in our communities. We can also use the beauty of the places where we live to build tourism business if we had the necessary support.
We want social services.
Many communities are protesting because the services they are offered are not good. In our case nobody is even trying, no municipality or government department is taking responsibility for housing, water, electricity and refuse removal in our communities.
This is a long road for us, but we will travel it. Whatever it takes! Stop playing. President Zuma, this is your baby.
We demand an initial respond time: 2 weeks
Transfer of Land by 26 December 2012