Land invasion prolongs housing development

Bonginkosi Madikizela.

Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela says he is meeting with all the municipalities to deal with the ongoing land grabs.

Outlining his departmental approach to the problem that has repeatedly reared its ugly head across the province, Mr Madikizela said he hoped to change things soon and confront the demand for housing.

According to the department, there have been at least 87 land protests in the last four months.

These have been in areas including Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Mitchell’s Plain and some areas in the Overberg.Addressing the media on Thursday June 14, Mr Madikizela admitted that there were some flaws in the housing allocation system.

He said some municipalities did not always allocate houses according to their database.

“Whilst it is important to allocate according to our database, on a first-come first-serve basis, municipalities also need to ensure that the most vulnerable beneficiaries get prioritised.

“It is therefore important for municipalities to align their business plans with the database,” he said, adding that the province had 575 000 families on its housing database. Mr Madikizela said he recently met with 25 municipalities in a bid to address the land invasions.

He said a dire need for housing contributed to the problem. He said while some protests were justified, there was no need for people to take land by force. He said such actions only delayed development. He added that not every vacant plot belonged to the government. “While we respect and uphold the right of individuals and communities to protest, and acknowledge the plight of those in need of adequate housing, invading land is not going to assist us in resolving genuine issues,” he said. “It will, in fact, hamper and prolong our ability to deliver and assist the most vulnerable citizens of this province.” Mr Madikizela said any invasions or illegal activity on land would be dealt with by the law.

“We remain resolute to the housing agenda,” he said.

He said more than 100 000 houses would be built by the provincial government as part of its housing delivery plan.