Community activist Roscoe Jacobs said they were considering opening a criminal case against the City for illegal demolition of structures in the area. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Community activist Roscoe Jacobs said they were considering opening a criminal case against the City for illegal demolition of structures in the area. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Hangberg residents consider legal action after shack demolitions

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Jun 23, 2020

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Hangberg residents in Hout Bay have threatened legal action against the City after a number of shacks were demolished on Friday.

This led to clashes between residents and law enforcement officers.

The City said its staff came under attack, were assaulted with stones and had flares and petrol bombs fired at them.

The City said a crèche (ECD centre) that has been used as a soup kitchen to feed hundreds of residents on a daily basis was also torched.

The City’s electricity depot construction site also came under attack - the depot is aimed at bringing services closer to the residents of Hangberg.

Community activist Roscoe Jacobs said they were considering opening a criminal case against the City for illegal demolition of structures in the area.

“The families that were affected by the demolition on Friday are living in one-bedroom flats and there are about nine of them.

“The structure was broken down and we will be pressing criminal charges against the City of Cape Town. They have violated the (law) and (there) is a section in the by-law act that makes provision for a private prosecution so we are definitely considering that avenue.

“We are also looking at approaching the high court for its intervention in this regard because we believe that there

are more structures that the City wants to break down,” said Jacobs.

Social Justice Coalition (SJC) general secretary Axolile Notywala said: “We support them in what the community is doing. If they don’t take them to court, then who will? Court is the only place where we go to seek justice. I wish the court could expose how inhumane the City is.

“The City is anti-poor, their evictions or demolitions are illegal because they never produce documents which authorise them to demolish. We are not against the demolition of illegal structures but they must follow proper procedure and law when they demolish structures.

“They always argue that the structures are not occupied but you could see that there was a family living in the structure. It is very worrisome because the demolition of structures happens during the winter season and that puts the residents’ lives in danger,” said Notywala.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said the residents illegally building structures in the area had their own houses. “We don’t demolish structures that are already at the place, those structures were demolished because they were not yet proper structures for people to live in.

“They were demolished to avoid further illegal building of informal structures.

“People take advantage of unoccupied land and that must not happen again,” said Booi.

Cape Times

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