LOOK: Why 'things got crazy' in Hangberg after City demolishes structures

By Athandile Siyo Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

Share this article:

Cape Town – Law enforcement and residents in Hangberg, Hout Bay, clashed after the City’s Anti-land Invasion Unit demolished structures in the area yesterday.

Police fired stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets at an angry crowd.

The demolition had been at the request of those concerned with ongoing land invasions, said councillor Rob Quintas.

“This operation has been requested for an ongoing basis over a period of months by the residents of Hangberg, who have been pleading that law enforcement agencies halt the illegal land invasions affecting their community,” Quintas said.

“Due to the trespass and illegal development on City property, crèches have been affected, the establishment of a community requested five-a-side soccer pitch has been halted.

Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

“The City cannot access waste and sanitation services, and concerns from residents of the Hangberg area have been highlighted regarding the ongoing lawlessness in terms of illegal land invasion.

“The operation has been met with resistance by some of the community, and skirmishes have resulted in a riot atmosphere,” he added.

“The services on site to perform this legal demolition and the security agencies present are there to uphold the rule of law.”

Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Community activist Roscoe Jacobs said he tried to engage with officers on site, but they became “arrogant and didn’t respond”.

“I wanted to find out what was happening and why, but it became evident that they were on a mission and weren’t going to answer me,” he said, adding that those residents who gathered to observe were shot at.

“In retaliation, community members started to throw stones and that is when things got crazy,” Jacobs said.

Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Malusi Booi, Mayco member for Human Settlements, said: “The City, supported by the SAPS, dismantled two unoccupied illegally erected structures, one being a half-built brick and cement foundation. 

“No one has been living in these structures permanently. This was not an eviction.”

Having to remove illegal structures also affected the City’s Covid-19 crisis interventions, Booi added.

Ginola Phillips was shot by police with rubber bullets as they demolished his house. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

In Langeberg, the Mawubuye Land Rights Forum, the Rural Legal Centre and the Trust for Community Outreach and Education has condemned the “inhumane” orders given by the local municipality to demolish structures and evict families in Robertson Bo-Dorp.

The Mawubuye Land Rights Reform’s John Roefse said he could not understand why families struggling to make ends meet were left destitute.

“When community members and children tried to fight off security by throwing stones they were met with rubber bullets. People have a lot to deal with already, now there is a storm,” he said.

The Langeberg Municipality did not respond by deadline.

Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Times

Share this article: