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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
ANC challenges 'racist Berlin wall'
Cape Town skyline
Cape Town is a city of huge contrasts

The African National Congress in South Africa says it will appeal against a decision by opposition-controlled Cape Town to approve the erection of a wall between an estate for black residents and their more affluent white neighbours.

The 340-metre-long wall, to be built in August, will separate the residents of the Kraaifontein suburb from the 8,500 low-cost houses in neighbouring Wallacedene.


The Democratic Alliance has finally exposed their rotten racist face with this decision

Mcebisi Skwatsha ANC official
The wall is "appalling, wrong and immoral", said the ANC's Western Cape provincial secretary, Mcebisi Skwatsha.

He described it as an "apartheid Berlin wall".

The ANC has vowed to fight the building of the wall all the way to the Constitutional Court because it says it violates the country's constitution.

"The fact that they want to introduce an electric fence shows just exactly what they think of poor black people," Mr Skwatsha said in a statement.

"The Democratic Alliance has finally exposed their rotten racist face with this decision," he said.

Initially there had been no plans to surround the housing development with a wall, but at last week's city council executive meeting, the DA councillor for the area, Fanie Jacobs, objected, saying residents in the area who were ratepayers needed protection.

Noisy neighbours

Mr Jacobs said the crime rate in the area was expected to increase as more than 60,000 people and vehicles would commute between surrounding areas and Wallacedene.

Brian Watkyns, the DA councillor responsible for planning and development, denied the decision to build the wall was racially motivated, saying most of the residents who requested the wall were not white.

Children playing in the street
Shanty towns are a stone's throw from the city centre

According to Mr Watkyns, one of the main reasons for building the wall was to keep out noise.

The issue of fencing off more affluent areas in South Africa has become prevalent especially in the light of the rising crime rate.

Just last month an electric fence erected to keep out 3,000 informal settlement residents from a Johannesburg industrial area, was turned off a day after it was switched on following objections from local government.

And in April part of a controversial fence cordoning off a section of a popular cape Town beach for the exclusive use of a private club's paying patrons also had to be removed following an outcry from local residents.


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19 May 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
26 Dec 99 | Africa
16 Feb 99 | Truth and Reconciliation
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