The City of Cape Town and South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) should have handled the evictions at Lwandle near Strand in the Western Cape better, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Wednesday.
“What we saw in the media, the information we gathered from the community, reports we received from Sanral and statements from the City of Cape Town leaves us with many unanswered questions,” she said in a statement.
“It is not possible that in the middle of a very cold Western Cape winter and rains and children writing exams the whole community can be removed in brutal force, that concerns me as the minister of human settlement, we are a caring government.”
Sisulu said an inquiry would be established to investigate all processes and procedures followed by all involved until the removal was authorised by the high court and subsequently implemented this week.
Deputy Human Settlements Minister Zoe Kota and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters went to visit the scene of evictions on Tuesday.
Sisulu was expected to visit the site on Wednesday, the department said.
They were briefed by the human settlements department in the Western Cape, Sanral and representatives of the community on Tuesday.
The department said that after a visit, the ministers agreed that Sanral and the city could have handled the dispute and the whole relocation process differently.
The eviction of shack dwellers began on Monday and continued into Tuesday.
The Sanral, the owner of the land, was granted an eviction order by the Western Cape’s high court earlier this year.
Western Cape police said 10 people had been arrested for alleged public violence since the evictions began, with petrol bombs thrown and tyres set alight.
‘Mediation and guidance’
The human settlements department said on Wednesday, that the ministers said that if the city and Sanral could not find a solution they should have gone to the provincial and national government for “mediation and guidance”.
Sisulu said that in consultation with Peters, the illegal occupiers will settle temporarily while government can assist to find a solution.
“We must be very clear, we do not encourage illegal occupation of land, it is the inhumane way in which children and women are being removed during winter that we are concern about, the people will have to move out of the land when necessary arrangements are made,” Sisulu said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the municipality’s human settlements MMC Siyabulela Mamkeli said the city repeatedly urged Sanral to protect their land against the continual land invasions.
On Tuesday, transport department spokesperson Tiyani Ponto-Rikhotso said the City of Cape Town should shoulder responsibility for the events that led to the evictions. – Sapa