Lwandle report handed to Sisulu

Shacks being broken down in Lwandle. (David Harrison, M&G)

Shacks being broken down in Lwandle. (David Harrison, M&G)

A report into the eviction of 800 families from land owned by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) in Lwandle, Cape Town, was handed to Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Wednesday.

She accepted the 296-page document from advocate Denzil Potgieter, who chaired  the inquiry Sisulu set up shortly after the mass evictions in June this year, and said she would spend the next week studying the report.

The report goes to Parliament’s human settlements portfolio committee after that, which will examine its recommendations.

Potgieter said at the handover that the report includes recommendations that “certain legal shortcomings” in various pieces of legislation dealing with the illegal occupation of land and evictions of people be fixed.

It recommends that courts take into account “the extent to which a property owner has taken steps to prevent unlawful occupation of property” before issuing eviction notices.

Potgieter said the report identified shortcomings in how authorities carried out mass evictions.

The inquiry enjoyed substantial public support, he said. “It is to be noted, however, that the refusal by the government of the Western Cape, particularly the provincial department of human settlements and the City of Cape Town, to participate in the public hearings has to an extent hampered the work of the inquiry.”

Potgieter said the two government entities declined invitations to the public hearing, although they did send written submissions.

The public hearings gathered valuable material for the inquiry. “So it is in that sense we are saying that potentially there might have been further benefit if they had participated in that process.” 

Political ‘hit squad’
The City of Cape Town was happy that the report from an inquiry into the mass eviction of more than 800 families from Lwandle has been completed, mayor Patricia de Lille said on Wednesday.

“The City of Cape Town is glad that this waste of taxpayers’ money is over,” she said in a statement. “The city notes the report of the Lwandle Inquiry, which was established when Sanral [the SA National Roads Agency Limited] evicted residents who had illegally invaded their land. 

She said the inquiry was a “political hit squad” to undermine the DA-led Western Cape government.
– Sapa

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