City of Cape Town water trucks delivering water for Makhaza residents in Khayelitsha during the lockdown. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA
City of Cape Town water trucks delivering water for Makhaza residents in Khayelitsha during the lockdown. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency/ANA

Land invasion contravenes Covid-19 regulations, says City of Cape Town

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 11, 2020

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The City of Cape Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, has issued a statement after video footage appeared on social media showing law enforcement officers attempting to remove people trying to occupy land.

"There have been a number of attempts within the City of Cape Town to illegally occupy land. These attempts are in direct contravention of the current lockdown and Covid-19 regulations," said Booi.

One altercation he was referring to was a piece of land in Khayelitsha which is "currently under threat of being illegally invaded and occupied". 

"This attempted illegal occupation is in direct contempt of a court order obtained by the city. It must be made clear no eviction is taking place and only incomplete, unoccupied and illegally built structures are being removed," he added.

On Saturday, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) general secretary Axolile Notywala released video footage on social media of law enforcement "evicting" people in Makhaza, Khayelitsha.

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/CityofCT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CityofCT’s law enforcement is back currently evicting people in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. They arrested me and @NSwartbooi for asking them to identify themselves. They have no name tags visible pic.twitter.com/TcT4zGEoHR

— Axolile Notywala (@Xila_Notywala)

In response to the footage, Booi said: "Video footage has appeared on social media incorrectly labelling these operations as ‘evictions’".

He added that the city has to act fairly and recognise all of the other communities who have been waiting patiently for the delivery of services. "This is especially important in light of the enormous increase in land invasions across the metro over the past months," he said.

"Some people see the lockdown as an opportunity to illegally and unlawfully occupy land without the permission of the landowner. This is concerning as it shows a disrespect for the rights of the owner but more importantly, goes against a direct instruction of the President of the Republic of South Africa.

"Similar to other municipalities, the city will continue to protect its land and will remove incomplete and unoccupied illegal structures."

Booi also recognised that the City of Cape Town is sensitive to the need for housing but the actions of these people are mostly opportunistic especially during the time of the Covid-19 lockdown. "I ask the South African National Defence Force and the South African Police Service to assist in upholding the law during the national lockdown.

"I implore community leaders and influencers in communities to help us to drive awareness. We cannot have this situation now especially as we are trying to create healthier spaces for our fight against Covid-19," he concluded.

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