Ministers to visit Sanral evictions site

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CAPE ARGUS

A Lwandle resident is subdued with a knee on the head and yellow pepper spray. Picture: Cindy Waxa/Cape Argus

Cape Town - Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu were to visit the scene of evictions at Lwandle near Strand in the Western Cape on Tuesday.

“The ministers have expressed concern over the humanitarian situation caused by the evictions,” transport department spokesman Tiyani Ponto-Rikhotso said in a statement.

“They 1/8ministers 3/8 will this afternoon meet with the leadership of the community to find solutions to the current challenges.”

The eviction of shack dwellers began on Monday and continued into Tuesday.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), the owner of the land, was granted an eviction order by the Western Cape High Court earlier this year.

Western Cape police said 10 people had been arrested for alleged public violence since the evictions began, with petrol bombs thrown and tyres set alight.

Ponto-Rikhotso said the City of Cape Town should shoulder responsibility for the events that led to the evictions.

“Sanral has clear evidence that the city prevented the acquisition of an alternative piece of land for the relocation of communities living inside the N2 road reserve,” he said.

“It is obvious that they used the issue of toll-roads in the Western Cape as an excuse to terminate discussions on the issue.”

He said Sanral had been engaging with the city since 2003 to relocate the shack dwellers to alternative accommodation.

“The inaction of the city brought this process to an abrupt end, and Sanral eventually had no other option to apply for a High Court order to prevent further land invasion.”

Ponto-Rikhotso said the order was granted on January 24 and Sanral started with the enforcement of the order on February 19.

Earlier, the municipality's human settlements MMC Siyabulela Mamkeli said the city had repeatedly urged Sanral to protect their land against the continual land invasions.

“As the land in question is owned by Sanral, the city has not been responsible for policing these informal settlements,” Mamkeli said.

“As the settlements are on Sanral land, the city may not provide services without the consent of the landowner, which in this case is Sanral.”

Sanral had appointed a private company to ensure the settlement did not grow further, but new structures continued to be built on the Sanral land, said the MMC.

Sapa


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