Woodlands land invaders took to the streets on Saturday to vent their frustration at the lack of assistance – or answers – they’ve received from the City of Cape Town.
The people illegally occupied land in Woodlands during the last week of May, and in a night of violence, six shops were looted on Monday May 28 (“Violence erupts from invasion”, Plainsman, May 30).
Warrant Officer Jeffrey Samson said the people had been burning tyres since late morning.
“We have had no engagement with the land invaders. We received word that they will be looting the Pick * Pay again, and remained on standby if anything were to happen. We closed off Eisleben Road… until Morgenster Road.”
One of the land occupiers, who did not want to be named, said: “We took to the streets out of anger. We had a peaceful march toward the police, who were standing at the end of the road. We are still waiting for an answer on the memorandum we sent out on Tuesday June 12, and the council did not get back to us as of yet.
“Law enforcement came today to take our things away again but we are going to put our houses up again, without any violence. We don’t have a problem with law enforcement taking our things, we would just like to be notified. They had no warrant to take our things.”
The land occupiers have been forcefully removed by law enforcement on several occasions since they first moved onto the land in May (“Woodlands land invaders take grievances to sub-council”, Plainsman, June 13).
“When the housing estate unit caravan was here, some of us went and some of us did not want to go if they were not able to look at the people whose names were on the database for the last 30 years. The City wants to break our spirit but the people have nowhere to go so what must they do. We just want alternative solutions,” the land occupier said.
Jennifer Carelse, 50, from Woodlands, who was among those who illegally occupied the land, said: “We were not provoked but we are upset about what happened. We just want our voices heard; we just want help.
“When law enforcement take our things, what are they doing with it?”
Edwina October, 36, also from Woodlands said: “I made me a cup of coffee at a friend’s house close by when I received word that law enforcement came to take my things.
“My children looked at me and said, they’re taking our house, mommy. I asked them to give my things back but they did not want to.
“I don’t know what to do anymore. They’ve taken all my materials to build a house and now I don’t have any more materials to build with again. It’s hard, but what can I do. ICOSA (Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa) came and assured us they would help us get this land.”
Alvina Abrahams, deputy president of ICOSA calld the occupiers’ situation “inhumane”.
“You can’t put people out on the street and leave them like that in the rain. When I spoke to them at the site, the rain was dripping down my neck,” she said.
Ms Abrahams felt the situation needed more discussion.
“The City isn’t working for the poorest of the poor,” she said.