Cape Town - Khoisan leaders in Hangberg are outraged after the City’s Anti-land Invasion Unit and police “desecrated” a royal traditional garden over the weekend.
Katz Korana Royal House Chief Regan James said the Anti-land Invasion officers first attempted to destroy one of the homes belonging to the Royal House, despite it being occupied, and then headed to the royal traditional garden and destroyed it.
“They barged in without telling us if there was a complaint or anything for them to destroy the garden which has been there since 2010. The garden is of most significance to the community as we bring and teach our children sustainable gardening skills and the language and traditions of the Khoisan.
“I am very disappointed in the City because since 2010 they have been doing this and leave our kids traumatised. As a result, people started throwing stones. Police have been coming here to destroy shacks and never touched the garden. They even shot tear gas at the horses inside the garden, which is very wrong,” said James.
He said the police also removed tyres which were used to hold down the sand from being washed off by the rain. He said this was not the first time the police were removing the tyres and the community would return them.
“We are really disappointed in our government, especially because we are still awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign off the Traditional Leadership Bill that will, among other things, provide for the recognition of traditional and Khoisan communities and leadership positions. We urge him to go back to his forces and tell them who we are in this land, or we will have to take further steps with the government,” he said.
Mayoral member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the unit was responding to a complaint.
“When they got there an old man who was building a structure, which was not removed, but they then took some of the materials that he was going to use to build some units. There is no way that they would destroy a garden, our teams don’t destroy gardens. There are complaints of land invasions in the area and our teams are trying their best to respond to them as there is a court order linked to it,” Booi said.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said Hout Bay police were investigating cases of public violence and malicious damage to property after a protest (removal of structures and 100 tyres) in Salamander Way. Van Wyk said the protesters threw police with stones and also shot a flare at the members.
“SAPS members took action to disperse the crowd. No arrest has been made. Two police members were slightly injured. SAPS and other Law Enforcement agencies continue to monitor the situation,” he said.