Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers. Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)
Human Settlements MEC Tertuis Simmers. Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)

Over R115m budgeted to protect vacant Cape land parcels from invasions

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Apr 12, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial department of human settlements has budgeted more than R115 million to protect vacant land parcels from illegal occupation in the 2020/21 financial year, according to MEC Tertuis Simmers.

This is R54m more than in the previous year and R24m more than was spent in the 2018/19 period.

Simmers revealed the amount in a written reply to a question from the chairperson of the standing committee on human settlements Matlhodi Maseko (DA).

Maseko had asked a series of questions around the issue of land invasions in the Metro and across the province since the lockdown began.

Simmers said: “Since March 2020 one parcel of land belonging to my department in Lavender Hill has been illegally occupied and my department can confirm that 1025 land invasions have taken place on land owned by the City.”

On the question of whether the occupied land in Lavender Hill had been earmarked for housing development Simmers said: “The size of the land in Lavender Hill is not suitable for a housing project, however, my department is consulting the devolution of said land to the City who own the adjacent land.”

Commenting on the issue Maseko said: “Orchestrated land invasions are often used as a way to jump the queue on the Housing Demand Database with individuals hoping to force governments to place them ahead of other law-abiding beneficiaries.

“I will be inviting the City as well as the provincial department of human settlements to brief the committee on land invasions in the Western Cape and the ways in which these criminal activities might be mitigated in the future.”

Maseko’s comments come a week after 11 people experiencing homelessness launched applications in both the Western Cape High Court and the Equality Court challenging the constitutionality and discriminatory impact of two of the City’s municipal by-laws.

The applicants, represented by the Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre in both applications, claim the by-law relating to streets, public places and the prevention of noise nuisances (2007) and the Integrated Waste Management By-law (2009) criminalise homelessness.

Cape Argus

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