Three held for public violence after Lwandle evictions

Three people were arrested for public violence on Tuesday during evictions in Lwandle, outside Cape Town, Western Cape police said.

“Three people have been arrested because of alleged public violence. The situation has cleared since this morning … and the situation is quiet at this stage,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut.

Earlier in the day, petrol bombs were thrown and tyres set alight and the situation was described as “tense”. “We are policing the eviction notice being carried out by the sheriff of the court,” Traut said at the time.

Another seven people were arrested on Monday for public violence, and three petrol bombs confiscated.

The violence began on Monday following the enforcement of an eviction order. It was granted to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), owner of the land, by the high court in Cape Town earlier this year.

Democratic Alliance (DA) national spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the ANC blaming the party for the evictions was nothing short of cheap and petty politicking. “It is entirely disingenuous and in no way accurate,” she said in a statement.

“Yesterday [Monday], Sanral, a national state entity, through the Sheriff of the Court enforced an interdict against people occupying land owned by it.”

She said responsibility for the evictions lay squarely with Sanral and the national transport department, who sought the court interdict themselves and who owned the land in question.

Earlier, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa claimed the eviction was punishment for the community not voting for the DA in the May 7 general elections.

“The ANC condemns the eviction … by the Cape Town metro without being given alternative accommodation as required by the law,” he said in a statement. “This is tantamount to undermining democracy and the freedom of choice by the DA metro.”

Van Damme said beyond Sanral and the transport department being responsible for the evictions, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters was nowhere to be seen, as her department remained silent on the issue. “Both Sanral and the department must answer for their unwillingness to take reasonable steps to ensure that the eviction occurs in a manner that does not rob people of their security and dignity,” she said.

“As such, the ANC would do well to familiarise themselves with the facts of this issue and redirect their condemnation to the national government, which they have just been elected to govern.”

Kodwa said the ANC had asked the national transport and human settlements departments to intervene.

Congress of South African Trade Unions’ provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said it was outraged by the treatment of those who built their homes on the Sanral land. “The police are clearly guilty of abuse in the manner in which people have been treated during this eviction operation,” he said in a statement.

People should be given alternate land to build their houses on, in the event of them having to move off land for whatever legitimate reason, he said. “Where do the authorities expect people to go when there are no alternatives for them, and this in the middle of winter?” he said. – Sapa

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