Originally posted by GroundUp / Tania Broughton
- Cape Town has been barred from further illegal occupation of land in District Six.
- The Western Cape High Court said this was aimed at preventing District Six claimants from being dispossessed a second time.
- In Hanover Street, 28 tents and a wooden structure were erected illegally.
- Judge Judy Cloete said the city had no obligation to engage meaningfully with those who use the land occupations to gain tactical advantages.
Cape Town has secured a final ban preventing further illegal occupation of parts of District Six.
Pursuant to the order made by Judge Judy Cloete in the High Court of the Western Cape, city officials have been given the power to remove anyone who attempts to occupy the properties, to demolish any incomplete structure that is not busy and remove all good. , including building materials.
However, the ordinance specifies that this is not an “eviction order” and that the City does not have the right to demolish occupied structures.
The City first obtained an interim ban in May to protect the properties, which are part of an ongoing land restitution process. Some 60,000 people were forcibly evicted under the Group Zones Act during the apartheid years.
In the late 1990s, as part of the restitution project, 2,670 claims were submitted, 1,439 chose financial compensation and 1,126 chose to return to District Six.
Two phases were completed and a third, with 108 housing units, was due to be completed by the end of May. The restitution process should finally be completed by 2024 at a cost of 87 billion rand.
Judge Cloete said the illegal occupation of some properties now endangers the rights of claimants – who had already suffered atrocities under an oppressive regime.
She said the purpose of the ban was to prevent further illegal occupations.
On three of the Hanover Street properties, there were currently 28 tents and a wooden structure, and another was used as a base on which building materials were illegally placed.
The city had, since March of this year, when the first people started erecting tents, tried to stop the occupation of the land, but at the end of April, a group of about 150 people, mainly of Women and Children, apparently affiliated with “Heideveld United”, arrived with two delivery vehicles loaded with construction materials.
While law enforcement officials tended to the drivers, the group erected a wooden structure and used women and children to block access to property for city officials.
When officials were finally able to gain access to the property, they found that the structure, although incomplete, was occupied by an elderly woman and a number of children. She said she now lives there, which means the city would have to comply with the provisions of the Prevention of Unlawful Evictions and Illegal Occupation of Land Act (PIE).
Subsequently, other attempts to occupy the properties took place.
In her decision, Judge Cloete said that while occupants may complain about the way the city provides housing, “they have no right to take justice into their own hands.”
“In our constitutional democracy, with rights come responsibilities. It is shocking that respondents use women and children to try to achieve their personal goals.
“One can only imagine the trauma suffered by these children and it is not known whether the elderly woman who now cares for them was herself the victim of threats and intimidation and left speechless.
“Also, there are no services and the conditions leave them vulnerable to disease.”
Judge Cloete said the city had no obligation to engage meaningfully with those who use the land occupations to gain a tactical advantage.
“The rights of legitimate District Six Claimants must be protected. It is a reality that the City does not have the resources to constantly patrol properties. “
The judge noted that this was not the only land occupation facing the City. “If these are allowed to continue, the District Six applicants will be dispossessed a second time. The only difference is that this time around it will be the result of the illegal actions of their fellow citizens and not of the shameful apartheid regime.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-22 05:00:00