Cape Town -
Sanral says the city pulling out of a deal to buy land for the homeless because it wanted the agency to first resolve its dispute over the proposed R10 billion tolling of the N1 and N2 resulted in more than 1 000 people being evicted at Zola on Monday.
“The City of Cape Town’s opposition to Sanral’s proposal to buy property earmarked for the relocation of illegal occupants of the land along the Onverwacht Interchange has resulted in the unnecessary eviction of the people of Zola informal settlement,” said SA National Roads Agency spokesman Vusi Mona on Tuesday in response to a Cape Times query.
“This change in the city’s stance was purely based on political expediency and it is rather unfortunate that the ideology of the city and its regrettable opposition to a policy of the government to relocate people has resulted in inconvenience to some families in the area.”
City spokeswoman Priya Reddy said on Tuesday night: “The Sanral statement has just come to our attention. We will consider it and provide comment in due course.”
Mona said: “The latest move is in sharp contrast to the City of Cape Town’s suggestion in 2011 that Sanral should negotiate with the owner of portions 9 and 17 of the farm No 681 in Stellenbosch with the intention of purchasing these properties.
“The intention was for Sanral to acquire these properties and to then donate them to the City of Cape Town.
“In return, the City of Cape Town had identified a property at the Macassar Interchange that was to be developed, together with a small portion of land owned by Sanral, for the relocation of the (illegal occupants of the land along the Onverwacht Interchange).
“This plan followed meetings held during March and April 2011 which were attended by representatives of Sanral with officials and councillors of the City of Cape Town.
“On 2 August 2011, the owner of portions 9 and 17 of the farm 681 signed a sale agreement for those properties. The price had been determined by the owner in consultation with independent valuators appointed by Sanral and this transaction was about to be approved by Sanral when we received notification that the City of Cape Town would not pursue the provision of low-income housing opportunities on the land adjoining Macassar Interchange until its dispute with Sanral regarding the tolling of the N1 and N2 had been resolved,” said Mona.
“Consequently, Sanral could not pursue the purchase of portions 9 and 17 of the farm 681.”
The property was invaded on January 18 and occupied illegally.
Mona said attempts to prevent the invasion were “met with aggressive resistance”.
“When the assistance of the SAPS was sought, the organisation was informed that prior to any assistance being afforded, a court order was required.
“A court order, interdicting and restraining people intending to invade, occupy and erect structures on the subject property, was finally made by the Western Cape High Court on Friday, 24 January.”
On Monday, more than 1 000 residents were evicted.
On Tuesday, eight Zola residents were released after spending a night in jail allegedly for participating in an illegal gathering.
Charges against them were dropped in the Strand Magistrate’s Court as there was not enough evidence.
They were arrested on Monday during a protest after 450 shacks were demolished at Zola.
Among those arrested was a 17-year-old schoolgirl. Her mother, Nomandla Msolo, said she was arrested even though she was not part of the crowd protesting.
“I don’t know why they arrested her. She just came from school. When she was arrested I asked what had she done because she was not even protesting.
“My daughter spent the night in jail, missed school for something she did not do and she is a minor,” said Msolo.
About 150 residents gathered outside the court demanding the release of the eight.
They were addressed by expelled ANC councillor Andile Lili, who said the residents had called him to assist.
“The residents said they needed our help after their homes were demolished. We held a meeting with the residents (on Monday night) and we organised lawyers.
“After this, we will open a case because the residents’ building material was taken from them. Some were crying yesterday because they had no place to stay,” Lili said.
In November 2011, the city applied to the Western Cape High Court for an interdict to prevent Sanral from going ahead with the toll roads. The parties later agreed that the city would halt its interdict application and Sanral would not start work on the projects until a review was completed.
It was agreed if Sanral decided to start work, it would give the city 45 days’ notice. The notification was received on March 6 last year. - Cape Times