Minister names Lwandle inquiry

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IOL gallery Lwandle 3 done CAPE ARGUS A woman puts up a fight against two policemen, as rocks were thrown and rubber bullets fired during an eviction in Lwandle on Monday. Picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - Members of a ministerial inquiry into evictions of illegal shack dwellers in Lwandle, Cape Town, were announced by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday.

Lawyer Denzil Potgieter would chair the inquiry. The other members are Nomhle Beauty Dambuza, Mampe Ramotsamai, Butch Steyn, Annelize van Wyk, and Barnabas Xulu, who would provide legal advice.

Sisulu told reporters at Parliament the team was conversant in the law, housing codes, and regulations.

The inquiry would investigate the removal of some 849 families from the land, owned by the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) on Monday and Tuesday. Shacks were demolished and set alight.

She had declared the matter a special project of the department because there had been loss of property and violations of constitutional rights.

“We must start by putting it on record that we do not tolerate, condone nor encourage any illegal occupation of land in our country,” Sisulu said.

“Evicting people illegally is also wrong and South Africans have to get to understand you can't get away with doing wrong.”

Sisulu said a blame-game had played out the last few days between Sanral and the City of Cape Town.

“Neither the province nor the city wants to take responsibility and in terms of the law, I have the final responsibility to ensure that people in circumstances like this are dealt with.

“They did not think it was a disaster and washed their hands of it.”

The team would look at Sanral's court application to have the residents evicted, the obtaining and execution of an interim court order, and the roles of the sheriff of the court, law enforcement officials and other government officials.

Sisulu said she wanted to know who had stayed on the land and how they had come to live there, considering there was a waiting list for the provision of government housing.

The inquiry would obtain all relevant documentation from Sanral, the national transport department, the City of Cape Town, and the Western Cape government.

Interviews would be conducted and evidence gathered in the form of photos, video and other material of the eviction process.

The inquiry would be based at the Housing Development Agency in Cape Town.

It would start work immediately and conclude on August 5. Sisulu would then be presented with the findings and recommendations.


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