Over the last couple of weeks, Cape Town has seen an escalation of service delivery protests with the land invasions in Strand turning volatile.
Cape Town - Over the last couple of weeks, Cape Town has seen an escalation of service delivery protests with the land invasions in Strand turning volatile.

However, the  Western Cape Human Settlements department has revealed that they felt these protests have been politically motivated ahead of the May 8th elections.

"While we respect the right for any individual or groupings to protest, a right enshrined in our Constitution for a just and legitimate course - many of these protests are motivated and instigated by political opportunists for electioneering purposes," said Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka spokesperson for Human Settlements MEC  Bonginkosi Madikizela

"These are people who break the law with impunity, disregard processes and flout the rules in order to be prioritized above the most deserving law abiding citizens."

According to the department, the protest action in Strand that resulted in the closure of the N2 was orchestrated by the Land Party for political reasons. 

"This was a repetition of the 2014 protest just before elections as well which resulted in the invasion of the SANRAL land which is initially reserved for the expansion of the N2. Subsequent to that, the leadership of Ses’Khona movement illegally sold the land which did not belong to them and resulted in the number of illegal land invaders increasing drastically. SANRAL tried in vain to move people out of that land. Now, the government is under pressure to move at least 800 families in the servitude in order for the City to provide basic services. Housing Developments Agency (HDA) was tasked by SANRAL to find alternative land for these people."

The department said that the land occupiers are now forcing their hand to move them to another piece of land owned by SANRAL that is earmarked for road expansion. 

"If we do that, it will jeopardize the entire road expansion which is needed to deal with challenges of road congestion. We can’t allow that to happen. Upon hearing about this plan, Overnwacht Community adjacent to this land demonstrated to the Council offices demanding an explanation for this," Makoba-Somdaka said.

A meeting was convened this morning by Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, attended by Madikizela, Deputy Mayor Ian Nielsen, Mayoral Committee Members for Safety and Security, JP Smith, Human Settlements, Malusi Booi and Spatial Planning and Environment, Mariaan Niewoudt, Sub-Council 8 Chairperson, Cllr Chantal Cerfontein, Cllrs Pringle, Punt, officials from SANRAL and Senior officials from Province and the City of Cape Town.

The following resolutions were made:
  • The City is in the process of buying two pieces of land up 74 hectares where people will be accommodated.
  • Before then, profiling of these individuals must be conducted in order to ensure their status on the waiting list.
  • A meeting will be convened at Sub-Council 8 with all the stakeholders on the 30th of April at 11h30.
  • Subsequent to that, a meeting will be convened with the adjacent community, Ovenwacht to communicate our stance as government and the way forward.
  • We must uphold the law, we can’t be bullied by people who are hell bent on bypassing processes for political opportunistic reasons.
Cape Argus