WATCH: Hangberg residents left homeless after City tears down 'unoccupied' structures

By Marvin Charles Time of article published Jun 11, 2020

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Cape Town - It has been raining buckets for two days, but that didn't stop law enforcement officers from the City of Cape Town from tearing down structures put up by people from Hangberg in Hout Bay.

A tense standoff between the City and residents of Hangberg broke out early Thursday morning after the City’s anti-land invasion unit tore down several structures they claim are ‘unoccupied’. Residents responded by protesting and burning tyres.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: “A docket of public violence has been opened for investigation by Hout Bay police. The City of Cape Town was demolishing illegal unoccupied structures in Hangberg when a group of about 100 community members participated in a protest. Police took action to disperse the crowd. No one has been arrested.”

Ward councillor Rob Quintas said the operation has been requested for an ongoing basis over recent months by Hangberg residents, as they have been pleading that law enforcement agencies halt illegal land invasions in the community. 

Residents of Hangberg protest after the City of Cape Town demolished structures during the storm that engulfed the Western Cape. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

A tense standoff between the City and residents of Hangberg broke out early Thursday morning after the City’s anti-land invasion tore down several structures. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Residents of Hangberg protest after the City of Cape Town demolished structures during the storm that engulfed the Western Cape. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

He said the process of demolishing unoccupied and incomplete illegal structures started on Thursday morning.

“We understand the concerns of residents and members of the public and reiterate that there are no evictions being ordered, as this would not be allowed during the Covid 19 Disaster Act Period, Level 3, and would require a High Court Order as well as arrangements made for the relocation of inhabitants of structures.

“Due to the trespass and illegal development on City property, crèches have been affected, the establishment of community requested 5 A-Side soccer pitch has been halted, the City cannot access waste and sanitation services, and concerns from residents of the Hangberg area have been highlighted regarding the ongoing lawlessness in terms of illegal land invasion.

“Those involved with illegal building have over the past months been served with warnings, and notices, and have not desisted in their activity,” Quintas said.

A scuffle between authorities and residents ensued and police officers used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Angry community members responded with protests and burnt tyres. According to the City two unoccupied structures were dismantled.

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 South African Police Service, dismantled two unoccupied illegally erected structures, one being a half-built brick and cement foundation. No one has been living in these structures permanently. This was not an eviction.”

“The City’s land invasion came into the area at around 8am and they used rubber bullets to disperse the residents.  They tore down one unoccupied structure but the four others that they tore down people were living in and now we have 15-20 people who are homeless,” said Hangberg activist Lee Smith.

Ginola Phillips was shot by police with rubber bullets. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Ginola Phillips was shot by police with rubber bullets. Video: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

@MarvinCharles17

marvin,[email protected]

Cape Argus

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