Cape Town 140603. Residents of Siyanyanzela informal settlement in Lwandle are left homeless after Sanral evicted them. Some residents burned down their shacks after realising that the law enforcement is taking their material away. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Zodidi/Argus

Cape Town - Public hearings into evictions in Lwandle, set to start on Monday, will focus on the court application which led to the removals.

The formal inquiry was launched after several hundred people in the township were left homeless last month when officials from the sheriff’s office flattened their homes.

Most were forced to sleep in a local community hall, some even outside.

Shacks were demolished and belongings were lost as rubber bullets and rocks flew, when police and protesters clashed.

The hearing would be held at the Good Hope Sub-Council Building from 10am, human settlements spokesman Vusi Tshose said.

The evictions followed a court application by the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) after squatters moved into land earmarked for the rerouting of a national highway.

Sanral has blamed the city for the evictions, saying they could have been avoided had the city been interested in finding a solution.

The inquiry will investigate what led to the application and how the court order was obtained.

It will also look at how this order was executed.

The role of the sheriff, the city of Cape Town, police and all government entities involved in the evictions will also be looked at.

“(We will also) establish the identity of affected members of the informal settlement community of Lwandle, (and) how the community came to be on the land in question when there is a waiting list for the provision of housing in terms of government programmes,” Tshose said.

Parties have been invited to provide written submissions or comments relevant to the inquiry. The process began on June 23.

Social Justice Coalitions spokesman Axolile Motywala said there had never been an eviction order and the Lwandle residents had been evicted on the back of an interdict.

He hoped the hearing would thoroughly investigate what led to the evictions and added there was an opportunity for the hearing to have an even bigger influence.

“I think they have a chance here to look at evictions across the country, how they are being handled and why they are happening.

“This could be for evictions what the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry was for policing.”

The hearing would be followed by others. Those who were affected by the evictions would have a chance to be heard at a venue near to them. NGOs would be invited to provide comment. Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu would be presented with the findings.

“In the interest of transparency and meaningful public participation, the inquiry will conduct its hearings in public and everyone interested can attend on a first come, first served, basis due to space limitations,” said Tshose.

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Cape Argus