Cape Town - The situation in Hermanus remains tense after a visit by the Western Cape human settlements MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela.
He told residents at a mass gathering that their grievances had been heard. Madikizela was addressing hundreds of residents from Zwelihle in Hermanus, where protesters and police have clashed after a group tried to occupy land illegally. The protest has resulted in a library, a satellite police station and other properties being damaged, and has forced schools to close and has seen foreign residents flee their homes.
“We have heard your grievances - please work with us now so that we can address these issues,” he said.
Madikizela paid close attention to residents in a meeting with community leaders, law enforcement and community members.
The community leaders said their anger had been brewing for years, and did not just start on Thursday when land grabs were attempted. The community also raised issues of backyard dwelling, saying that people who rented back rooms would not benefit when new houses were built because the lists were too long, and that corruption in the municipality kept them far down on the list.
Meanwhile, the ANC in the Western Cape condemned the violence in Hermanus.
“The ANC, however, would like to state categorically that we support the community call for prime land and building integrated and quality houses. This is the cause we have been fighting for over and against a DA government that fears integration,” said ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs.
He urged the mayor and local leaders to do everything in the interests of their own people, and said they must always consult them over any development in their town.
This is the latest land grab to occur in the country as the land expropriation issue heats up.