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CoCT Says It Has Its Hands Full Dealing With Land Invasions

The City of Cape Town said that there have been more than 20 land invasion attempts over the past two weeks across the city.

Mayco member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said that officers had dealt with more than 5,000 structures.

He said that attempts to illegally occupy land, municipality projects or community facilities included several orchestrated attempts in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha. Other areas included Wallacedene, Delft, Dunoon, Milnerton and Nyanga.

Over the past few weeks, officials have had their hands full trying to deal with the land invasions across the city.

Booi said that a number of areas were under strain from attempts to invade land for services, nature conservation land, play parks or housing projects.

He said that actions to prevent this from happening were also met with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities.

“It is stretching our resources but we’re getting assistance from the South African Police Service, the South African Defence Force and our law enforcement officers, more than 180 of them, have been deployed around the city.”

Booi said that some land invasions seemed to be orchestrated. He said that people were encouraged by those calling for the city not to act against land invasions and illegal occupation and, as a result, many saw this as a green light to invade land.

“Law enforcement agencies are currently doing there work as we want to get to the bottom of it. We’ll onlybe able to make announcements once we’ve arrested those behind this.”

Booi added that this came in the wake of the court case involving the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), where it seeks to interdict the city from conducting any and all anti-land invasion operations.

Meanwhile, an arson attack on another community facility in Khayelitsha was prevented after people moved into the building.

Just over the weekend, the Desmond Tutu Hall, the city’s new clinic extension COVID-19 facility, was torched days after it was opened.

Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien said that this time, the OR Tambo community hall was the target.

“Initial feedback suggested that there were a number of individuals who had made there way into the community hall with the intention also to initiate an arson attack on this facility.”

He said that fortunately there were security present on-site.

“The OR Tambo Hall, sadly, is no stranger to community unrest. In 2016 and 2018, the facility suffered as a result of arson.”

Badroodien added that in 2018, damages were so significant that R4 million was set aside to repair the facility.