The development of housing on the Schulphoek land has been a continuous theme in newspaper columns for almost a decade.

There have been many iterations of what must be done on the land and there have been claims and counterclaims by all and sundry about the eventual sale of the land. To such an extent that many residents have difficulty in understanding what the status quo is.

In the coming months there will be yet more debate on what should be developed, or not, on this prime piece of property – one of the last undeveloped seafront properties in our region.

And while there might be a growing feeling of disinterest by many residents, it is vital to note the importance of what is transpiring in the corridors of negotiation. Thousands of people in the Overstrand are in dire need of affordable housing and Schulphoek will be a make or break development that sets the trend for the future development of our whole region.

The ability of all spheres of government, and the interested and affected parties, to cooperate in forging a way forward will be tested. We simply have to look at the violent protests in Kleinmond last week. A small spark ignited an inferno of violence in a town where so much is being done right. Kleinmond and its leaders have been setting the tone for cooperative governance where all communities are involved and where positive dialogue is practiced with passion.

But all of this was almost scuppered when illegal structures were removed. While this is a highly emotive issue, no matter which side you find yourself on, violence must never be an option.

The words of author and cultural activist Dr Sindiwe Magona reverberate in the light of these happenings: “Fight for the future, the past is done. If you destroy, you are not fighting, you are losing.”

What is happening now with Schulphoek is setting up the building blocks of our futures. Let’s fight for it and not destroy it.

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