Last Friday, an hour before the Muslim community was to start Jumu’ah prayers, their mosque was torn down by Provincial Government.
Residents of Malibu Village, Eerste River, watched in horror and even recorded a video of officials knocking down the vibracrete walls of the incomplete masjid on 117 London Way.
The Malibu Village Islamic Society and the Department of Human Settlements have been at war over the holy land since the beginning of this month, when the community started erecting the mosque.
The residents say the plot was given to them by the previous owner, the late Rashaad Osborne, whose widow Safaa has donated it for the purpose of building the mosque.
However, according to the City of Cape Town’s property valuation roll, the land belongs to Provincial Government.
The department issued Safaa a warning notice on May 3 to stop building, and MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela’s spokesperson Zalisile Mbali last week called the community “land invaders”.
Safaa, however, insists the land belongs to her.
The 47-year-old woman even showed the Daily Voice a rates bill – addressed to her late husband – of R6 575.94, which she paid on May 5.
Yesterday, accompanied by Sariah Muller, 25, Safaa went to the deeds office in Plein Street in the city centre to obtain the deed of sale to prove that she is the rightful owner.
But she says that she was sent from pillar to post before officials eventually told her she is no longer the owner, without giving her an explanation.
Yesterday, the Daily Voice sent three emails and made umpteen phone calls to the Department of Human Settlements to get clarity on the matter, but no response was received by late evening.
A gatvol Safaa says: “How can my house be taken away without me knowing?
“My husband passed away 11 years ago and left the house to me, telling me before he died to give it to our community.
“I did what he asked, but now these people are robbing us of our place of worship. I cannot believe what is happening.”
The mosque, which consisted of four slabbed walls and a wooden structure, was also used to feed 200 people from the area every day.
On Friday, Safaa along with the community stood by helplessly as their mosque, which they had started building two weeks ago, was demolished.
Officials from Human Settlements, law enforcement officers, traffic officials and a group of workers gathered at the site to ensure things went smoothly as the building and fencing on the property were hammered to the ground.
Safaa explains: “It was heartbreaking to watch. This mosque is the legacy my husband left behind. A gift to the community because there had never been a mosque in the area.”