DISPUTE: Land grabs happening in Hout Bay above the fire break of Hangberg.Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - The clearing of large sections of land by land invaders in the Hangberg area has been ongoing for months and ward 74 councillor, Roberto Quintas, said the invasion is a massive violation of a Peace Accord signed in 2010.

The portions of land cleared by invaders can be seen alongside the mountain at Sentinel peak.

A resident, who chose to remain anonymous, said the City and SANParks have passed the buck to one another.

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“In and around 2014, residents of Hangberg were warned that building on and above the fire break is illegal.

“The council attempted to remove these illegal structures, this ended in a full-scale riot. Since then Metro and the police have refused to enter the area.

“With the Vrygrond Parkwood Bo-Kaap incidents and incitement to ‘grab land’, residents of Hangberg have pegged out large plots all along the mountain. Teams of 8 to 10 people at a time are clearing the land and starting to dig foundations.”

The resident who spoke on behalf of a group of concerned individuals said they made several calls to the City that said it was a SANParks issue.

They said messages and calls to SANParks went unanswered. Quintas confirmed that he frequently received complaints from Hangberg residents, however, he said the issue is sensitive as the land belongs to SANParks - it would need to get an eviction order before the invaders could be removed.

Quintas said the invasions have been ongoing for years and in 2009 a notorious battle took place between residents, the SAPS, the City and SANParks about the invasions which brought about a Peace Accord. The Peace Accord made within the high court instructed the City to make key improvements in Hangberg.

The City’s mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, Xanthea Limberg, said residents are advised that the City will act within the provisions of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions and Unlawful Occupation of Land acts, but protection of land not owned by the City is the responsibility of the property owner. SANParks head of communications Janine Raftopoulos said SANParks does not own the land in question.

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Cape Argus