File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Land invasions endangering housing projects of R1bn in Cape Town

By Asanda Sokanyile Time of article published Jul 25, 2020

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Cape Town – Land invasions in several communities across the city have placed housing projects amounting to more than R1 billion in jeopardy.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said the cost of providing temporary water services in accordance with the disaster declaration to informal settlements, situated on land not earmarked for habitation or on privately owned land, ran into tens of millions of rand.

“Housing projects are under threat and it is the beneficiaries who have been waiting (for homes) that lose opportunities," said Booi.

In recent weeks, land invasions were seen in Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Wallacedene in Kraaifontein, Delft, Dunoon, Firgrove in Macassar, Constantia, Milnerton and Nyanga.

Booi said the invasion between Khayelitsha and Mfuleni came at a cost: “It means replacing millions of rand of damaged community facilities or losing precious biodiversity land. Violent protests destroy infrastructure, affect job creation and tourism and threatens the city's overall stability.”

Premier Alan Winde said that during the violent protests four emergency services teams came under attack; a Dial-A-Ride vehicle that provides transport to disabled people was stoned, injuring passengers and damaging the vehicle; firefighters on their way to a fire in Khayelitsha were surrounded and their vehicle was stoned; Eskom withdrew services to certain parts of Khayelitsha and Mfuleni after its staff were attacked; and a Golden Arrow bus was petrol-bombed in Mfuleni.

EFF provincial spokesperson Aishah Cassiem said the EFF Cape Metro would support land invasion and “soon we will start occupying the idling farms of Cape Town. This struggle will never stop until the land has been returned to its rightful owners”.

Two weeks ago, during an eviction in Mfuleni’s new Nkandla informal settlement, resident Ntombokuqala Toyise said she had nowhere else to go as her home had been mowed down by a reckless driver.

“I borrowed this shack from the lady at the crèche and was advised to put it up here. I am sorry, I am really sorry, please, I beg that they don’t take the shack because it does not belong to me,” pleaded the Spar casual worker.

A 36-year-old mother of two and former waitress, Siphokazi Madubedube from Site C, said she would fight for space, whatever the cost.

“The money we get from their grants is not enough for us to pay rent and buy food, landlords are not hearing this story of rent not being paid because of lockdown anymore.

"Ramaphosa must come to our landlords himself and speak to them about rent if he doesn’t want us taking up vacant land... We do not want to fight with anyone, but we will if we have to,” said Madubedube.

Activist Loyiso Nkohla, who is at the forefront of the invasions, said the protesters demanded fully serviced sites.

“This is a better, healthy and dry environment than living in highly congested and filthy areas. Besides, many people have been on the waiting list for many years.”

Weekend Argus

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