Destitute Hangberg shack dwellers protest, call for an end to City’s demolitions
The march follows Nyakathisa residents in Mfuleni initiating legal action to prevent the City from demolishing shacks.
Advocate Vernon Seymour, who is representing Hangberg residents, said an urgent court application has been launched. “The people are angry because they don’t have a place to stay.
"When they build structures, they get demolished - that is what leads people to take it out to the streets. The matter is in court. Every citizen has a right to have a shelter and a decent life.”
City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said attempting to invade land or hijacking buildings and houses was illegal. “Notice was received on Wednesday evening from lawyers representing interested parties in Hangberg. The matter is being dealt with by City legal services,” said Tyhalibongo.
In Nyakathisa, community leader Nwabisa Lamla said residents were not given a warning before their structures were demolished.
The residents are former backyard dwellers, some of whom have lost their jobs and cannot afford to pay rent due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Some of us, who have no relatives or friends in the area, have been sleeping outside with no food. The law enforcement forcefully evicted us without any form of warning. Other residents were assaulted for no reason. Most of us were employed before but we lost our jobs because of lockdown,” he said.
Human settlements Mayco member Malusi Booi said people often settled on land not suitable for habitation or where services could not be provided.
“New settlements demand basic services. But the City cannot cater for new settlements at the expense of existing settlements. It can only do what is budgeted for,” said Booi.
He urged people to contact the Anti-Land Invasion Units Office on 021 444 0092 between 7am and 4pm to collect their confiscated materials.