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Table View residents irked by growing Happy Valley camp, demands immediate action

The Happy Valley informal settlement community at Bloubergstand near Big Bay go about their business. Picture: Ross Jansen/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The Happy Valley informal settlement community at Bloubergstand near Big Bay go about their business. Picture: Ross Jansen/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 19, 2022

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Cape Town - Some Table View residents have renewed their calls for the removal of squatters on Erf 1117, known as Happy Valley camp, opposite Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital.

The residents have started an online petition demanding that the City and provincial government initiate action to remove the squatters before February 25. Failing this, the residents said they would obtain a mandamus high court order to compel the two spheres of government to perform their public and statutory duties.

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The petition, which was started last week, has garnered more than 3 000 signatures, with residents saying that the camp had grown exponentially and if it wasn’t stopped, it would grow into a “mini” Dunoon.

Some residents said properties abutting the camp were suffering house break-ins and devaluation and that this negatively affected tourism. They argued that the squatters’ current location forced them to dig in bins, beg at intersections and participate in unlawful activities.

However, the City said the provincial government owned Erf 1117. However, the provincial department said ownership of Erf 1117, a portion of Erf 268, vests in the national government of which the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure was the custodian.

Table View Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Mandy da Matta said the residents were “barking up the wrong tree”, however. The petition, she said, was a desperate attempt as they were displeased about being ignored by the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, which owned the land.

“The national department was supposed to ensure that only the 19 original woodcutters and their families were housed on the land. It failed to administer the law to protect the residents and the original residents as was promised in 2010, 2012 and 2015. Consequently, the residents sold spaces to other squatters.

“If squatters wish to do as they please on one set of rules, then the same rules should apply to ratepayers. The all-for-one and one-for-all principle applies.

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“If one set of rules applies then we should by rights scrap all laws and taxes and implement a jungle justice system where we all play from the same set of rules,” Da Matta said.

She said Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille failed to ensure that the responsibility that was undertaken by previous ministers, to, among others, fence off the area and provide security guards.

The national department’s spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu said the Erf was currently zoned for agriculture and that the occupants were squatting illegally.

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Mchunu said the department was in the process of realising the land for human settlement.

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Cape Argus

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