Riots erupt after eviction

Cars were stoned by protesters.

Tensions are simmering in Wallacedene after the City of Cape Town evicted more than 300 people, including children, from land they had illegally occupied.

The Anti-Land Invasion Unit tore down about 50 shacks on Monday October 1. The City says the Phase 9 land is earmarked for those on its housing database.

On Tuesday October 3, the land invaders, angered by the eviction, ran through the streets protesting.

The City’s health department had closed the Wallacedene clinic in response to rioting in which the clinic manager’s office had been stoned, said JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security and social services.

Patients had to be referred to other clinics.

The clinic was reopened the following day.

When Northern News visited Phase 9 on Thursday October 4 more than 100 people could be seen rebuilding their shacks.

They told the media not to take pictures saying they feared being arrested.

One of the leaders, who did not want to be named, said they had first invaded the land in February 2017. He said they were backyard dwellers who could no longer afford to pay rent to the owners of RDP homes.

“When we started living here, there were only 10 shacks but now more people have come to stay here,” he said.

According to him, the City served the occupiers with an interdict on Saturday, September 29, giving them an opportunity to appear in court on Wednesday October 17 to argue their case.

“They said we will have to be in court this month because they don’t want us on the land so now we are trying to get money together to get a lawyer who will help us in court,” he said.

Nonkosi Makaluza, a young mother who was knocking broken steel plates together, said she needed shelter for herself and her three-year-old daughter.

She said having her shack broken down had been a traumatic experience.

“We have so much struggles here, we use the fire to make food and most of our things were destroyed while breaking down our shacks.”

She said they had not wanted to protest, but were fed up with their living conditions.

Ward 6 councillor Simpiwe Nonkeyizana said he had had many meetings with the people since last year, asking them to stop putting up shacks on City-owned property.

“In April this year they marched to my office, demanding that they be considered to get housing. In June, I arranged a meeting with their leaders after having a meeting with City officials. It was told to me that RDP houses are set to be built for people on the waiting list,” he said.

Mr Nonkeyizana said protesters had tried breaking into his office, next to the Wallacedene community hall, and the hall had been vandalised. Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water, waste services and energy, said the City had interdicted the residents from occupying the land.

The land invaders had been warned that illegally erected shacks would be removed, she said.

The City-owned piece of land was earmarked for those on the housing database.

“The land parcel in question has been the subject of attempted land invasions for a number of months, all of which the City has countered. The current land invasion occurred within the past two weeks,” she said.

Kraaifontein SAPS did not respond to questions sent on Thursday October 4.