Cape Town - Some Lwandle residents have begun rebuilding their homes on land they were violently evicted from, but others have refused to move until their possessions are returned to them.
Three weeks ago in bitter weather hundreds of people occupying SA Roads Agency (Sanral) land were evicted, prompting a national outcry. An agreement was later reached that they could rebuild on the land but people want their personal belongings first.
Their furniture and belongings were confiscated by law enforcement officials, police and Sanral officials during the eviction.
The first batch of residents were supposed to move from the Nomzamo Hall, where they have been staying, into the new homes.
About 20 structures had been completed by Wednesday night.
Thulani Zondani from Ses’khona Peoples Rights Movement said Sanral had to return the goods before people would rebuild. “There is no point in people moving into an empty home with no bed to sleep in.”
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, said law enforcement played a minor role in the eviction and that police were managing the whole situation.
Smith said all questions regarding the whereabouts of residents’ belongings should be directed to the police.
However, police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut diverted the blame back to law enforcement saying they were responsible for the confiscated goods.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said Sanral was not responsible for the people’s belongings, and that the sheriff in charge of the evictions would know where the furniture was being kept. Human Settlement Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said she expected all 800 displaced residents to be out of Nomzamo Hall by Sunday.
“I have instructed the Housing Development Agency to make sure we complete the relocation of the people as a matter of urgency. From there the mayor of the City of Cape Town has promised us that those who qualify will be allocated permanent homes in different projects of the City of Cape Town.”
But Zondani said there were still issues of flooring that needed to be resolved.
He said the steering committee had agreed with the Housing Development Agency to have wooden floors placed in all structures.
“I have been here throughout the day watching the builders erect the new structures and I still have not seen any flooring material.”
Kate Shand, spokeswoman for the Housing Development Agency, said the agency was investigating a solution to the flooring issue.
She said construction of the shelters had started and was “progressing smoothly”.