Activist embarks on hunger strike over Chapman’s Peak toll office development

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne has embarked on a hunger strike and has vowed to sit at the building site on Chapman’s Peak every day until the construction is halted and a more environmentally friendly solution is found. Please offer support at any time of the day you can spare to add to the ongoing protest.

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne embarks on a hunger strike: 5th February 2012

Bronwen Lankers-Byrne embarks on a hunger strike: 5th February 2012

Cape Times
February 6 2012 at 04:28pm
By Zara Nicholson

A Hout Bay resident and member of the Civil Rights Action Group (Crag) started a hunger strike at the Chapman’s Peak toll plaza and office block site on Sunday, saying she would stop only if the construction was halted.

With temperatures of 35º on Sunday, Bronwen Lankers-Byrne was strong and vowed to carry on until authorities were prepared to have transparent discussions and take residents’ feelings on the development into account.

Lankers-Byrne, who is almost 60, sat alone under a small tree opposite the construction site on Chapman’s Peak where she started her hunger strike at 7am.

“I will do this for as long as it takes,” she said.

Earlier in the day a few environmentalists were also at the site where they spray-painted containers and road signs near the site. The group sprayed messages like: “We are still gatvol” and “a precedent for one office block, then another and another”.

Lankers-Byrne said she was only drinking water and was feeling strong except for a “pounding headache”.

She was the march co-ordinator for the protest last month when more than 2 000 people voiced their opposition to the construction of a toll plaza and office block for the toll operator, Entilini.

Residents say the building does not match the plans they commented on during the public participation processes.

Lankers-Byrne said: “When I was interviewed in 2009 at a protest, I was really angry and I told a reporter, ‘Over my dead body will they build this plaza,’ That’s where the hunger strike thought started and then I also thought about what Gandhi would do in this situation and I thought about a passive but strong resistance that’s effective.”

Lankers-Byrne was particularly outraged that building continued despite a showing by more than 2 000 people who disagreed with the plan.

Various civil groups are opposing the R54 million development with the Hout Bay Residents Association busy finalising documents to file an interdict to stop the construction from continuing.

Lankers-Byrne did not have any breakfast and by 2pm she said: “Spiritually I feel fine. I’ve resolved myself to the fact that I am not going to put anything past my mouth except water until they stop building and we sit around a table to discuss the data and a simple way forward.”

Premier Helen Zille cycled on Chapman’s Peak yesterday morning and Lankers-Byrne stopped her and explained what she was doing. Zille took her details and said she would be in contact.

“I am just tired of politicians. We vote for them, we pay their salaries and they do what we don’t want, with our money,” she said.

Local actress Vanessa Haywood stopped as she was driving past and took a picture of Lankers-Byrne.

She posted the picture on Twitter and tweeted: “And the morons have already started building on Chappies.”

Haywood, who has more than 5 000 followers on Twitter, said she wanted to rally support for Lankers-Byrne and signed the petition at the site opposing the development.

Transport and Public Works MEC Robin Carlisle said: “We can talk as soon as we can. I don’t want her to do anything drastic. I’ve had several long talks with people on Crag’s committee and I’m happy to talk to anyone about Chapman’s Peak. The purpose of discussion is to see what solutions we can come to and if they want to have a discussion, they must look at all the possibilities. We all want to find the least objectionable solution.”

He did not speak for other stakeholders, but was sure they would also make time to talk, Carlisle said. – Cape Times

2 comments to Activist embarks on hunger strike over Chapman’s Peak toll office development

  • Janey

    Ohnowaais !! So sorry.

  • Angie

    News flash from Bronwen – “Someone” stole all the posters, her coolbox with water and her chair today Thursday 8th. She is asking for support in the way of more posters to line the road. Please make a poster about the protest and come and drop it off with her. Just get the day pass.

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