Demolition of Hangberg structures slated
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Cape Town - Community activists in Hangberg have condemned the demolition of structures by the City on Thursday last week.
Activist Lee Smith said: “We believe the narrative of whether the structures were occupied or not is irrelevant as the action led by the City was illegal as it violated a standing order granted by the Western Cape High Court. This court order is also known as the Hangberg Peace Accord and it outlines the process in dealing with ‘illegal’ structures.”
The land in question was initially earmarked for housing but in November 2019 the City decided to build an electricity depot on the site. Smith then filed an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to interdict the City from continuing further developments on the site.
In terms of the accord, the City had agreed to build houses on the site but had instead built the electricity depot without consulting the community, said Smith. “The City of Cape Town and the Hangberg Peace Mediation Forum are signatories to the Hangberg Peace Accord and residents have taken the City to the Western Cape High Court for being in violation of the accord, which is a court order and the matter is before the court.
"After consultation with our legal counsel, Mr Vernon Seymour, we have decided to strengthen our matter before the court against the City by including Thursday’s incident in the current matter as it too is a contravention of the high court order known as the Hangberg Peace Accord,” he said.
A tense standoff between the City and residents of Hangberg broke out after the City’s anti-land invasion unit tore down several structures they claimed were unoccupied. Residents burnt tyres and police used stun grenades to disperse residents.
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said: “We condemn any violence during protest actions and any damage to people and property due to protest actions. The City supported by the SAPS dismantled two unoccupied, illegally erected structures This was not an eviction.”