Cape Town 140203- Nikiwe Kabase and Nosipho Maga carries a cupboard after they were evicted. Hundreds of people have been evicted from Zola informal settlement i Strand after occupying the land illegally. Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Warren/Argus

Cape Town -

The City of Cape Town has hit back at the SA National Roads Agency Ltd over its claims it was being held to ransom over a proposed R10 billion tolling of the N1 and N2.

The city said it was Sanral which had stopped it from providing services to Zola residents in Strand.

“Sanral must stop this blame game and put the needs of residents first. Sanral refused to allow the city to provide these services and used the dispute between the city and Sanral on the proposed N1 and N2 Winelands Toll Road Project as the basis for their refusal,” mayoral committee member for human settlements Tandeka Gqada said on Wednesday.

On Monday, more than 1 000 people, including children were left homeless after 450 shacks were demolished under a court order Sanral had obtained.

A day later, in response to a request for comment, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said the city’s opposition to Sanral’s proposal to buy property earmarked for the relocation of illegal occupants of the land along the Onverwacht Interchange resulted in the “unnecessary” eviction.

The city’s stance was “purely based on political expediency” he had said.

Gqada said on Wednesday that the city had insisted that Sanral provide water and sanitation services to the households, but its attempts to get a commitment from the agency had failed.

“The city has never objected to Sanral buying land for the historical occupiers of the land when this was discussed in 2011. Sanral’s statement is an obvious attempt to pass the buck on to the city, and is disingenuous,” Gqada said.

Gqada said the city was not responsible for policing the informal settlement and could not provide services as the land was privately owned.

“As the settlements are on private land, the city may not provide services without the consent of the land owner. In the 2004/2005 financial year, Sanral allowed the city to provide a certain number of container toilets. These toilets have unfortunately been vandalised and damaged beyond repair,” she said.

“Sanral appointed a private company to halt further growth of the settlements but new structures, were still erected,” said Gqada.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona did not respond to messages. Zobuzwe Ngobese of Meropa Communications which sent Mona’s comment on Tuesday said: “Your query is receiving attention. We will revert with a response.”

Meanwhile Zola resident Ntombovuyo Mdakandini, whose shack was demolished on Monday, said it has been difficult for them to relocate.

“Some of us are sleeping at the community hall. Our building material, which was taken by the officials has not been returned to us. Some have been sleeping at their relatives’ homes. It’s been difficult for us to find a place to stay and we don’t know how long we will stay here,” said Mdakandini.

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Cape Times