Land invaders face the law

Noloyiso Rwexana.

Pandemonium broke out in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein, last week when 200 community members went on the rampage, following the demolition of illegal structures in Old Paarl Road.

Provincial police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said that on Wednesday March 14, at about 10.55am, protesters had set tyres and mattresses alight in the road.

“Vehicles which were driving by were also stoned. SAPS members and SAPS vehicles were also stoned. Public Order Policing responded and arrested 15 people on charges of public violence. A new postponement date for the case is being finalised,” she said.

The City of Cape Town confirmed the incident and that they had obtained a court interdict to keep people off the City-owned property. This was served by the Sheriff of the Court on Saturday March 17.

“At that time there were only six illegally erected and unoccupied structures on the property.

“The City will continue to monitor this land and will not hesitate to enforce the interdict. The City cannot tolerate land invasions as invaded land becomes a fire, flood, health and safety risk,” the City’s media office said.

Earlier this week, Xanthea Limberg, the City’s mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services, called on all private sector and community partners to help them stop land invasions across the metro.

“Illegal land invasions also threaten our housing and informal settlement upgrade programmes and the dedicated efforts that we are making to improve the lives of our residents.

“Over the next few years to 2020/21, excluding the additional funding allocated to formal housing projects, the City has earmarked some R600 million in total for various informal settlement upgrade programmes, re-blocking, super-blocking and the establishment of incremental development areas.

“This includes the expansion of service delivery in informal settlements in general.

“This is in recognition of the fact that programmes that upgrade informal settlements or that establish developments in an incremental manner are the best way to provide large-scale housing opportunities for our residents,” she said.

Residents can call the Public Emergency Communication Centre on 107 from a landline or on 021 480 7700 from a cellphone to provide information about land invasions. Callers will be allowed to remain anonymous.