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Scores left homeless after demolitions in Makhaza

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Spate of land occupations in Cape Town continues

Photo of a man
A resident watches as shacks are demolished by the Anti-land Invasion Unit in Makhaza, Khayelitsha.
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Scores of people were left homeless in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, on Tuesday after the City of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit tore down homes and removed building materials. Some residents broke down their own shacks in an attempt to save their building materials.

A large contingent of police and law enforcement kept watch as the anti-land invasion crews moved from plot to plot.

Jayjay Rayi, one of those evicted, said he had stayed in his shack in Makhaza for almost 12 days. “The law enforcement came here this morning and destroyed all of our materials,” he said. Rayi had been a backyard dweller and is jobless.

As evictions proceeded, residents carried furniture, electronics and clothes out of their homes to prevent them being damaged. They sat outside, surrounded by their belongings, and watched as their homes were torn down and building materials taken away.

Lelethu Manitshana said he lived with his two younger brothers. “I don’t have a job. I’m homeless. I’m landless. I don’t have a house now, where am I going to sleep?”

Some occupiers told GroundUp that Councillor Danile Khatshwa (ANC) had given them permission to live on the portion of land. But Khatshwa said that this is “absolutely false”. “I never instructed them to do that [occupy the land],” he said.

According to Khatshwa, the land was discussed two weeks ago and people were told the “land is a big no go area”.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The last time I checked, the ANC said that we would be getting back the land.”

Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayco Member for Informal Settlements, told GroundUp: “The City has a court interdict against anyone who tries to illegally occupy the land. In addition, a trespassing case has was opened.”

Limberg said the occupation started last week. “The City removed 182 illegally erected unoccupied structures on Saturday. These structures were then re-erected and 211 illegally erected unoccupied structures were removed on Tuesday,” she said.

Police watch over the area after shacks have been demolished. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

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TOPICS:  Housing Land