City of Cape Town says its hands are tied in removing occupants from District Six land
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Cape Town - The City said the Covid-19 regulations and two court cases continue to negatively impact its powers as a landowner and enforcer of by-laws to remove occupants from the District Six restitution land.
This after the City obtained an urgent court order to interdict future land invasions in the area. However, the order does not entitle the City for the purposes of evicting occupants from the property or demolishing any occupied structures.
As of March 31, 99 informal structures have been erected in the area, with invasions taking place on 23 properties owned by the City and on other properties owned by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Church of the Province of South Africa. Recent invasions took place on Freedom Day last week.
Social Liberals for Backyard Dwellers chairperson Sharriefa Nolan said they occupied the land on Human Rights Day after a peaceful protest where Mayor Dan Plato sent Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi to engage with them.
“We asked him (Booi) if we can remain on land because we have nowhere to go, and he agreed in front of law enforcement until our demands are met. A meeting on March 23 with Booi and the City did occur, however, with no solutions and another meeting was promised within seven days, but up till now we didn’t get any reply.
“Where is our human rights in this country? The City cannot evict us from restitution land. We want the City to show us by whom they bought this land, when all these buildings are built on stolen land. The District Six which are predominantly DA supporters are working to help the City by oppressing the less fortunate and marginalised evicted people in the province,” she said.
DA Western Cape Committee spokesperson on Human Settlements Matlhodi Maseko said he will invite the national Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to account to the provincial parliament’s standing committee on June 17.
“We trust that the department will take the opportunity to address the committee on the current status of the project, the challenges that they are facing, as well as the measures that are in place to address the invasion of land in the area.
“These land invasions could see the development of housing opportunities in the area delayed even further and force the City of Cape Town to step in and address the issue with its limited funding and mandate. National government cannot pass the responsibility of illegal land invaders solely on to the City of Cape Town,” Maseko said.