Cape human settlements department records steep drop in illegal land invasions
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Cape Town - The provincial Human Settlements department said it has seen a drastic reduction in attempted illegal land invasions with 159 reported incidents in the metro areas since the second week of April while none were recorded on state land.
Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers’ spokesperson, Marcellino Martin, said between July 2020 and the end of last week there had been 1 239 attempted land invasions of state-owned land.
Martin said this reduction in land invasions was due to proactive steps taken to protect land and properties which had cost the provincial government R400 million in the last financial year, R40m which has already been spent since the beginning of the current financial year.
“Combining both amounts and excluding bulk services, more than 2 440 Breaking New Ground/free housing units could’ve been built. We continue to condemn these unlawful invasions as they hurt the poor the most, and severely impact our ability to deliver housing opportunities to already identified, deserving, qualifying and potential beneficiaries that have patiently and legally been waiting on the Housing Demand Database,” he said.
Martin urged landowners, public and private, to ensure that their land and other properties were fully protected against invasion attempts and that criminal cases were opened against those who encouraging, leading and participating in these activities.
Mayco Member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said the spate of unlawful occupations had led to the establishment of 54 new settlements of various sizes across the city since March last year. Booi said that in July last year, the City removed around 25 000 incomplete structures with only around 1 000 removed last month.
“More than R300m is estimated to be required for the City to be able to service the newly unlawfully occupied areas, where it is possible to do so, and 70% of the unlawful occupations have occurred on unsuitable land,” Booi said.
He said areas like Mfuleni/Blue Downs, Khayelitsha, Dunoon, Kraaifontein, Vrygrond and Philippi, among others, were prone to these invasions.
He said City agencies were monitoring certain areas and acting to prevent the unlawful occupation of land on a daily basis.
Provincial ANC spokesperson on human settlements Andile Lili said that while land grabs signified a desperate need for housing and land ownership, these newly established settlements were a “ticking time bomb”.
“People have now lost appetite in invading land as they have realised that these informal settlements they establish are not serviced by the City of Cape Town and are prone to flooding; however, this does not mean there is no need for land,” said Lili.