Botrivier residents were barred from invading the Beaumont land, earmarked for housing by the Theewaterskloof municipality. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has issued an order that prohibits a group of disgruntled residents in Botrivier who allegedly blockaded the N2 on several occasions, from invading or unlawfully occupying or erecting structures on a portion of land called Beaumont.

The order was granted on Tuesday in favour of the Theewaterskloof municipality. The residents did not file replying papers.

Theewaterskloof municipality concluded a deed of sale with Crimson King Properties on September, 28, 2018 but this move apparently infuriated the group.

According to papers the land is earmarked for the development of housing and would enable the municipality to provide much needed low cost housing opportunities.

Gerrit Matthee, the municipal manager at the Theewaterskloof municipality, explained in his founding affidavit that the area had been plagued by protest action which led to the closure of schools, the N2 highway and the basic shutdown of the town.

“The unlawful conduct commenced on February 4, 2019 when persons whose identities are unknown to the municipality closed off the N2.”

He was referring to an incident in which protesting Botriver residents, demanding houses and basic service delivery, had blocked access to the town following an unsuccessful meeting with the municipality.

“The situation at the (Beaumont) property is extremely tense and the persons have been threatening to unlawfully occupy the property. The municipality is in control of the property. If the property is invaded it will scupper the development,” he said.

An area known as New France was also identified by the municipality for low cost housing, but it was later discovered after an environmental impact assessment (EIA) that the landfill located on the corner of the site rendered it unsuitable for housing.

Following the disruptions on the N2 and closure of schools a meeting was held between a community committee in Botrivier and the municipality, along with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Eskom.

This was followed by another meeting on March 14, 2019 and on March 27, 2019 the municipality facilitated a meeting between the committee, the provincial department of human settlements and a representative of the Human Settlements MECs office.

The municipality also argued that though there were no structures on the property at present, an application under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (the PIE Act) was time consuming and would adversely impact on the delivery of low cost housing to the approved beneficiaries.

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