The red flag was raised at Princess Vlei on Saturday 9th November as a diverse group of vlei enthusiasts came to support the Princess Vlei Forum’s red flag campaign.
The intention behind the campaign is to alert Cape Town’s citizens to natural and social spaces in our city that are under threat of inappropriate commercial development.
A number of organisations were represented at the event, including WESSA, the South African Faith Communities Environmental Initiative (SAFCEI);the Cape Wetlands Trust; the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance; the Diocesan Environmental Group; the Green Point Ratepayers and Residents Association; and many others
Bishop Christopher Gregorowski from the Princes Vlei Forum addressed the crowd, saying:
“Princess Vlei is a priceless natural asset for all the community, and nobody has the right to cover it with tar, concrete and another soulless mall, therefore our Red Flag campaign.
“The red flag is a sign of danger ahead. We are warning people that Princess Vlei is in serious danger from commercial developers.
“In traffic the red light means STOP. We say to the City Council and all involved, STOP this madness and develop Princess Vlei as a natural asset to be enjoyed by all!
“The red card is a sanction in the referee’s pocket. We say that we will bring out the red card, and that there will be serious consequences for all who proceed with threatening Princess Vlei. We will use our influence to ensure that they are sent packing.
Sheikh Dr Muhammad Ridwaan Gallant quoted the Prophet Muhammad’s words that “
There should be no harming nor inflicting harm.
“I am concerned about the damage any commercial structure will cause on the life of the inhabitants of the vlei whether it is the fauna or flora. Humanity and all other beneficiaries will lose also out because a whole ecosystem will be disrupted.
It is my duty as a faith leader to oppose that harm should be done on sacred life given by Allah (TA) to the inhabitants of this earth “ he said.
Visual arts educator and environmentalist Jill Williams remarked that:
“People of all races are fighting for the redressing of the Princess and it serves both working and middle class individuals including entire families from a variety of racial backgrounds, local and international…. As a KhoeSan heritage/environmental activist and Educator in Steenberg I know the dangers of removing communities and in particular children from their rights to nature. … I cannot understand how we can bring tourists to places like Kirstenbosch Gardens and other natural heritage site spaces and yet treat an immaculately beautiful sacred site like the Princess with such complete disrespect.
Seventy Two year old Yvonne Adams, born and bred in Grassy Park was there with her sisters grandchildren. She comes very Sunday with the children, and would like to see the Vlei restored and cared for.
After wrapping the trees in red, a cavalcade of colourful flag wavers drove to Busy Corner in Grassy Park, where supporters handed out pamphlets and collected signatures. Over 100 signatures were collected in under and hour. The message of those signing was unanimous: save Princess Vlei from commercial development. We want our Princess for picnics and playing, for experiencing nature.
We plan to keep the red flags flying until Princess Vlei is free from danger, and is awarded the protection it needs as a precious natural asset and heritage site.
Read more about why we are raising the red flag.