Reclaim the City (Cape Town)

Contact Details

Jared Rossouw +27 21 012 5094

Organisation Information

Reclaim the City is a movement of Cape Town residents, drawn from across barriers of class and race, who recognise the injustice and pain caused by spatial apartheid in our city. We advocate for state-subsidised, affordable housing development in the inner city, and demand that poor families’ homes and rights to remain near the city are protected. Cape Town has a population of 3.7 million people in its metropolitan area. From the perspective of Reclaim the City, Cape Town is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. More than twenty years since the beginning of democracy in South Africa, it remains one of the world’s most unequal and segregated cities. Today, nearly half a million families do not have access to decent housing. Apartheid spatial planning still defines most residents’ experience of their city. [, accessed 1/12/17:]
Launched 13 February 2016, Reclaim the City started a campaign around a portion of public land that was being sold. They held a series of public meetings around that sale. Since then they have grown into a social movement around housing, organising out of neighbhourhood chapter groups in places like Sea Port and Woodstock.

The Network operates with semi-autonomous chapters of local residents coming together to plan how to stop gentrification and land sales that will destroy diverse communities. The networks is decentralised allowing those local groups to have significant control over strategy. In 2017 the network decided to formalise some of its work and relationships through a city wide constitution.
Reclaim the City participated in the global Fearless Cities Conference in Barcelona in June 2017. Through their participation the organisation connected with La PAH in Barcelona learning about its participatory techniques for citizen assemblies. Reclaim the City has a different perspective on Municipalism than the one help in much of the Global North, they are seeking the active engagement of the state on issues like water and sanitation as opposed to critiquing the quality of democratic practice in the city.
The network is a highly decentralised alliance where individuals participate through chapters in active residential areas throughout the city. Through the addition of the Assembly strategy there is now a trend to also organise with city residents through regular meetings. The network does not play a role in party politics, seeking instead to pressure for state action.


South Africa Cape Town

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