Cape Town – The group of queer “artivists” occupying an Airbnb mansion in Camps Bay since Monday have not left the premises after the property management group had asked that they leave by 5pm on Thursday to make way for new guests set to arrive on Friday.
The DA said while it fully supports the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, it ’’rejects the ongoing illegal occupation“.
Zakhele Mbhele MP, the DA spokesperson on small business development, said in a statement: “It is hypocritical to claim to advance a rights-based agenda by violating the rights of others, and we support Airbnb’s demand that the illegal occupiers vacate the premises.”
One of the seven members from the #WeSeeYouMovement told the Daily Voice they are having “sleepless nights” because they are worried they will be evicted.
Advertised on short-term rental sites such as Airbnb and booking.com, a weekend at the house costs R16 000. The “art collective of queer black and coloured activists from the working and middle class” said their occupation is in “solidarity with landless people and economic inequality made worse by the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown”.
“The illegal occupiers of this property are not simply the victims they portray themselves as, but are undermining the legitimate struggle of many to advance LGBTQIA+ rights,“ the DA said.
“Their actions are tainting that struggle and putting their own interests above those of the owner of this property and the tourism and hospitality industry it is part of – an industry responsible for thousands of jobs in South Africa.
“The right to own property is protected by section 25 (1) of the Constitution: ’No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property’.
“While we have sympathy for their cause to highlight the plight of vulnerable queer people, women and children in South Africa, illegally occupying someone else’s property completely distracts from their goal.
“Their illegal action will only have an adverse outcome for their cause, as well as the tourism and hospitality industry, and does not foster goodwill from the public…
“Criminal action that violates the rights of others – even with the best intentions – will never and can never be the solution.
“The LGBTQIA+ community often faces severe discrimination and violence, even in South Africa where their rights are entrenched in the Constitution. The cause to highlight these injustices is righteous; the actions of these occupiers are not.”