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City demolishes hundreds of shacks in Wallacedene

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Anger spills over after evictions; families and clinic attacked

Photo of demolished shacks
In the past week, the City of Cape Town Anti-Land Invasion Unit has demolished as many as 600 shacks to thwart a land occupation in Phase 9, Wallacedene. Photo: Vincent Lali
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In the past week, the City of Cape Town Anti-Land Invasion Unit has demolished as many as 600 shacks to thwart a land occupation in Phase 9, Wallacedene.

On 28 September, GroundUp reported on the renewed attempt to occupy the land.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements Councillor Xanthea Limberg said the City had subsequently secured a court interdict. “The Sheriff of the Court served the interdict on the illegal occupiers on Saturday, 29 September.”

Wallacedene chairperson of SANCO (South African National Civic Organisation) Chippa Arosi addressed the land occupiers while City officials started to dismantle shacks with crowbars.

“We got a letter that says we must go to court. And while we wait for the appointed date, law enforcement comes to destroy our shacks. We are going to prove that the Western Cape is ruled by fools,” he told the crowd.

Arosi said City officials had given him a document that said the land occupiers and the former backyarders must go to court on 17 October to explain why they had occupied the land.

Arosi was limping from a fresh rubber bullet wound on his leg. He said, “I asked the officials about the court order and they told me to go away before firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the homeless residents.”

Community leader Lindumzi Fountain said, “We have a lawyer who will help us determine our reaction to the demolition and our next move … According to my understanding, law enforcement should have waited for the court to make a decision about the occupation before demolishing the shacks.”

Community leader Thami Bhongoza said residents were scraping cash together to hire a lawyer who would stand up for them in court. “Residents are enthusiastic about contributing to the fund because they badly want the land. However, some can’t contribute financially because they don’t work,” said Bhongoza. She said each land occupier was asked to contribute R100.

After the officials destroyed the shacks on Tuesday, some land occupiers took out their anger on two families from Joosternbergvlakke.

Limberg had said the City earmarked the land for families who had been evicted from Joosternbergvlakke. “After much work, the City helped the evictees to settle on the land. However, the protestors and invaders destroyed the structures of two families and also took all of their belongings … The City is trying to assist them via the support of an NGO.”

Western Cape Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said the police received reports about a petrol bomb attack on a farmhouse located behind the occupied land. “A docket was opened of house robbery and arson and two arrests were made in this case. Another docket was opened for possession of suspected stolen goods where nine suspects were arrested.”

According to Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security JP Smith protesting land occupiers also attacked staff and patients at Wallacedene Clinic and forced the closure of the facility on Tuesday. “The facility manager’s office was stoned and the facility was closed after all emergency cases were assessed to ensure the safety of staff and patients,” he said.

Smith said the City rushed patients and traumatised staff to other clinics for treatment and counselling. He condemned the violent attack on staff and patients at the clinic.

“This was also an attack on some of our most vulnerable residents, those who are ill and infirm,” said Smith.

© 2018 GroundUp.
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TOPICS:  Housing Land