W Cape spent R53.8m on security to stop land occupation

Published Aug 24, 2021


THE department of human settlements has recorded a slight drop in number of attempted occupations at state-owned properties at a heft security bill of R53.8million in just four months.

The department admitted 350 homes could have been build with that money.

A report by the provincial department showed the number of attempted land invasions of state-owned properties for August had decreased.

MEC for Human Settlements Tertius Simmers said the first three weeks of August saw fewer than 10 incidents a week.

The total number of attempts at occupying state property and land for August sits at 26, which is slightly lower than the 49 incidents recorded in July. All 26 incidents are said to have occurred in the metro with no reports in provincial municipalities.

Since July 2020 as many as 1 305 attempts of land occupation have been recorded across the Western Cape.

“Although the reduction is welcomed and shows that our strategy to secure our land and properties is working, the high security expenditure of over R 53.8 million since April to date, remains concerning. More than 320 Breaking New Ground (BNG)/free housing units could’ve been built (excluding bulk services) with this amount,” said Martin.

“Land invasions have a direct impact on our ability to deliver housing opportunities to already identified, deserving, qualifying and potential beneficiaries that have patiently and legally been waiting on the Housing Demand Database (HDD).”

“I’d like to thank all stakeholders, particularly community members who assist us in combating these illegal activities. This demonstrates what can be done when we all work together to combat events and activities that are detrimental to our society. While we have seen this decline in attempts, I would like to encourage all stakeholders to continue to be vigilant.”

Meanwhile, Ndifuna Ukwazi activists have condemned the eviction of 21 people who were living in tents and structures on a vacant piece of land next to the Green Point Tennis Court.

The group who had been living on the site for more than a year were removed on Monday by law enforcement officers.

The group’s attorney, Danielle Louw, said: “The illegal eviction of occupiers from the Green Point Tennis Club is an inhumane and senseless act of brutality by the City of Cape Town.”

Many have suffered from evictions after losing their jobs, livelihoods, and homes as a result of the economic devastation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The City’s illegal actions have left the occupiers destitute and without alternative accommodation. This forced displacement of vulnerable people, amidst the peak of Cape Town’s Third Wave of Covid-19 infections, exposes the City’s lack of sustainable solutions for dealing with people who experience homelessness.”