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Cycle tour 2017: The story behind the story

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A statement was released on Sunday morning announcing that the cycle tour was cancelled. “It is with great regret that at 06h38 this morning, we were forced to make the difficult decision to stop the 40th edition of the Cape Town Cycle Tour,” said the statement.

That morning had presented a number of challenges that contributed to the cancellation of the event.The wind speeds were considerably higher than predicted, while a large fire had broke out in Hout Bay in the early hours of Sunday morning, and the added risk of protest action en route, were all contributing factors to the decision to stop the event.

Videos taken at the starting point of the race revealed cyclists being blown off their bicycles.

“Our priority first and foremost will always be the safety of all our participants and the risk of injury and potential fatality at the start, at the finish and on Chapman’s Peak warranted this extremely difficult decision. Furthermore, we only made the decision after endeavouring to mitigate all risks to keep the event open,” the statement continued to say.

There was a huge number of people who were angered at how the main focus of the cancellation of the race was the gale force winds and the large fire that had broken out in Hout Bay. If these natural elements had not stopped the race, then the protest of residence of Masiphumelele would have.

The protest that broke out near Masiphumelele forced the route to be shortened. Richard Bosman‚ City of Cape Town’s safety and security executive director‚ said the protest seemed to be about “contention on land” in the area.

Masiphumelele is a huge informal settlement that has been protesting for quite a while because of lack of service delivery and safety issues. Earlier this year, the Maphumelele residences were protesting against the City.

The main reason for the protest was lack of land, electricity, lack of ablution facilities and poor refuse removal. They added they were also very unhappy with the fact that they were continuously removed from their homes by demolition forces hired by the City of Cape Town’s anti-land invasion unit.

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Countless of times members of the Masiphumelele community have been left homeless due to demolition projects. The residences have complained that they have not been informed before demolition takes place and have found their homes destroyed after they come back from work.

Some of the residences have even described the living conditions as similar to that of pigs and that their children are always sick.

epa05046932 A South African boy and resident of Masiphumelele looks over fire devistated parts of the informal shack settlement in Cape Town, South Africa, 29 November 2015. More than 800 shacks were destroyed and over 1000 residents displaced in the fire fanned by gale force winds which quickly spread in the overpopulated and dense shack settlement overnight. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

A facebook post that attempted to bring this to the attention of many has gone viral, with many sharing the same sentiments:

It seems the City of Cape Town can organise a race, but they fail to account to the protesters that are living in appalling conditions. What do you think would have happened had the protest been the only thing that stood to stop the race. Would the community of Masiphumelele finally be heard? Many seemed to think it was a blessing that the winds stopped to Cycle tour, while others were furious at the lack of concerns for the community of Masiphumelele,

https://twitter.com/NanSishange/status/840981963460751364

(Featured Image: groundup.com)

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Ofentse Maphari

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