About 1 000 residents have occupied a vacant area of land in Masiphumelele, saying the plot had been purchased for them. Photo: Ayanda Ndamane
A group of Masiphumelele residents have occupied a piece of land they claim was given to them in 2006 by the former ANC-led administration.

On Sunday, law enforcement tried to demolish structures the occupants began building last Friday, but were chased away.

According to community leader Tshepo Moletsane, about 1000 people decided to occupy the land after several attempts to engage with the City of Cape Town “fell on deaf ears”.

“At the time we got the land, the executive mayor was the ANC’s Nomaindia Mfeketo," Moletsane said.

"We have held several meetings with the city council officials since then with a view to getting time-frames as to when the development of the land would take place, but we have been told that an environmental impact assessment study has to be done first.

"This (assessment study) was done long before the land was bought."

He said residents could no longer continue to live on a nearby wetland while there was a vacant piece of land they could build on and which had been “purchased” for them.

In 2015, when the residents first occupied the plot, their homes were demolished by law enforcement.

Now, the occupants fear the same fate, as there has been no clear direction from the city.

Resident Khayalethu Mange said some of them were forced to live in other people’s backyards but could no longer afford the cost of rent. Many are seasonal workers.

Local councillor Felicity Purchase could not be reached for comment.