MEC threatens arrests as evictees rebuild
Cape Town - Hours after people were evicted from Marikana in Philippi following a violent confrontation with police, they were back rebuilding shacks – with scores of newcomers.
Those who lost their homes on Sunday and on Monday when police demolished dozens of shacks said they had no choice but to rebuild. However, JP Smith, Mayco member for Safety and Security, said the land was “under siege” and there was no option but to arrest people.
The reconstructing of shacks was a “desperate effort by the leadership of the Ses’Khona Human Rights movement to cause trouble for the DA”.
“The only solution here is to start arresting people,” he said when he discovered shacks had been rebuilt last night, just hours after they were taken down.
Smith added the land owner – who had obtained a court order to evict squatters – was desperately phoning to have something done about the growing number of shacks on his property. He bought the land in 2007.
However, this morning, residents at the site said Ses’Khona had nothing to do with them moving to Marikana.
Resident Tumi Ramahlele challenged police to attempt to evict residents again: “They can try their luck; we are ready and we will not let them evict a single resident.”
These words followed on Monday’s evictions, where police demolished homes that had been rebuilt after Sunday’s action.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said residents had thrown stones at police, who had in turn fired a stun grenade to disperse them. Police then left the township.
On Tuesday morning, there were no police in the area.
Sitting among the debris of her dismantled home, Asanda Ndila was unaware of the land dispute.
The small shack was her only option as she could no longer afford rent at the house where she used to live.
She said it wasn’t Ses’Khona that had brought her to Marikana, “it was necessity”.
For every former resident rebuilding, there were three times as many new people moving on to the land.
Siviwe Mdema, who erected a new shack overnight, said this was the only place he could find to live.
When asked whether he was concerned that he and his family could be evicted, he shook his head.
“We will rebuild. Everyone gives materials to those who are evicted… We are a community that sticks together.”
This explained the rapid pace at which new homes had sprung up on the land.
More evictions are planned in the area. Safety and Security director Richard Bosman said city law enforcement officials were meeting police to discuss how to proceed.
“Yesterday was dangerous and police had to pull out.”
At the time of publication, a decision had not yet been made.
* Additional reporting Cindy Waxa