The eviction of people from the Lwandle informal settlement in Strand, Cape Town, was meted out as a punishment to the community for not voting for the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the elections, the ANC said on Tuesday.
“The African National Congress condemns the eviction … by the Cape Town metro without being given alternative accommodation as required by the law,” said spokesperson Zizi Kodwa in a statement. “This is tantamount to undermining democracy and the freedom of choice by the DA metro.”
On Monday, the municipality’s human settlements MMC Siyabulela Mamkeli said the eviction was the enforcement of a Western Cape high court order granted earlier this year to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).
“The interdict authorised the sheriff and the South African Police Service [SAPS] to give effect to the provisions of this order against any person in breach of this order or structure erected after the service of this order,” said Mamkeli in a statement. “Further enquiries in this regard should be directed to Sanral. The sheriff of the court has been assisted by its contractors to remove the structures following an illegal land invasion on this Sanral-owned land.”
A woman cries as she watches her home being dismantled. (Carmel Loggenberg, EWN)
Kodwa said the ruling party contacted the national transport department, who owned the land, and the human settlements department to intervene on behalf of the community.
“We have been assured that teams have already been dispatched by the national government to investigate what options of intervention can be considered,” he said. “This once more proves that the DA does not care for the poor.”
Mamkeli said police supported the sheriff of the court’s actions.
“City law enforcement agencies were present, on the specific request from the sheriff of the court and the SAPS. City law enforcement has no role in the removal of structures,” said Mamkeli. “The city has repeatedly urged Sanral to protect their land against the continual and new land invasions. As the land in question is owned by Sanral, the city has not been responsible for policing these informal settlements.”
‘Settlements are on Sanral land’
Sanral appointed a private company to ensure the settlement did not grow further, but new structures continued to be built on the Sanral land.
“As the settlements are on Sanral land, the city may not provide services without the consent of the land owner, which in this case is Sanral,” said the MMC.
“Previously, as part of our commitment to building a caring city, the city offered to provide a certain number of container toilets in the settlements, which Sanral allowed.”
The toilets were subsequently vandalised and damaged beyond repair.
Ward councillors requested the city to provide additional services, which were provided on the periphery of city-owned land, adjacent to Sanral’s property. – Sapa