Gugulethu businessman throws in the towel: "I just want to get out of this land deal now"

Gugulethu businessman throws in the towel: "I just want to get out of this land deal now"

- Mzoli Ngcawusela, a prominent Gugulethu businessman, has given up on his popular tourist attracting restaurant, Mzoli’s, saying he is now willing to hand over the land the city has earmarked for a supermarket

- While it is hoped that the new development would boost the area’s economy and create Jobs, the are has been the site of violent service delivery protests for the past fortnight, possibly helping Ngcawusela make up his mind to quit the area

- Protesters set a car alight outside Mzoli’s which led to damage to both his property and the looting of a supermarket next door

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Gugulethu community members are “gatvol” with attempts to placate them. Tempers flared on Thursday evening when Cape Town mayor Patricia De Little tried to meet behind closed doors with the protestors who have been struggling against poor service delivery in the area.

Representatives reportedly told local Cape Town news paper reporters covering the conflict that they didn’t want to “discuss anything with the mayor” because it was their struggle. has learned that the area has, for the past fortnight been the site of violent service delivery protests which have now culminated in a prominent businessman, the owner of restaurant tourist attraction Mzoli’s, giving up his fight to stay in business and deciding to hand over land in the area to the city to pave way for a supermarket development which it is hoped will breathe life into the community by providing opportunities for employment to local people.

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The police and the city council tried to restore calm this week as protesters set a car on fire in front of the restaurant damaging part of the building while an existing supermarket next door was looted. Backyarders also occupied another Gugulethu businessman Peter Motale’s land.

The sites that are forming part of the discussions include tracts owned by Motale acquired his land in 1996 and had plans to build flats, and others.

Protesters said they are not moving. “We are not going back to the backyards, we will stay on the land owned by Peter Motale until the city council moves us to Charlesville and tells us they are prepared to build for us,” said protest leader, Mirvin Tshabalala.

“We are no longer interested in what Motale’s plan for the land is, we are not moving from the land,” said Tshabalala adding that they wanted “services on the land”.

“If the city council could give electricity and water to Marikana which is on private land, why can’t they do that here for us.”

Motale and Ngcawuzela both of whom grew up and continue to live in the area say they are negotiating with the city council for the sale of the land. They say they persist in the hope that their businesses might provide jobs to the community.

Ngcawuzela had plans of “bringing a supermarket to the community”, but says the development was halted by the protests. “I am willing to give the land over if that is what the community wants,” he said. Asked if he would move the supermarket project elsewhere he expressed that he didn’t. “I just want to get out of the land deal now”.

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Tshabalala said that even though the area was now calm, there was no telling what might happen. He said there is no way of knowing what “people would do if we do not get what we want, but we will definitely take it to the streets”.

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