SAPS arrested several people for trespassing, after they broke into and occupied the Rocklands Villas flats behind the SABC building in Sea Point. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A derelict building owned by the SABC in Sea Point is in the sights of illegal occupiers.

Several were arrested when they entered the building with belongings.

“We can confirm that four men and two women were arrested for trespassing and malicious damage to property.

“We can also confirm that on Tuesday, three women were arrested for trespassing. They all appeared in Cape Town Magistrate’s court today,” said police spokesperson FC Van Wyk.

Rocklands Villas has been standing vacant for over 20 years. It’s still unclear who exactly the group is that occupied the building and who they are affiliated with. One organisation that has been campaigning for affordable housing is the Umhlaba Wethu Development group.

But organiser Thandeka Sisusa said: “I am not sure who those people are, they are not part of our organisation.”

Umhlaba Wethu Development is a grassroots organisation, stakeholder and pressure group campaigning for affordable housing on the Atlantic Seaboard. Its members have been campaigning in the area for more than two decades. In 1996, members of the organisation started with their illegal occupation of Rocklands Villas, calling for the building to be used for affordable housing. Sisusa was arrested in 1996 for occupying the building and spent a weekend in a jail cell. She now lives in the Somerset Hospital precinct, in a building occupied by 200 people.

“Talks with the SABC stopped because they were frequently changing the board members and it was extremely difficult for us,” she said.

“The SABC is aware of the incident and is considering its options regarding the future of the building,” said SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu.

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Cape Argus