Residents and City head to court

Members of the Woodlands Home Seekers Association rebuild their homes after law enforcement demolished their shacks.

Woodlands residents and the City of Cape Town will go back to court on Monday November 5 in the ongoing case against illegal land invasion.

The City laid a charge of trespassing against the Woodlands Home Seekers’ Association and obtained an interdict preventing people from occupying the land on the corner of Eros Way and Mitchell’s Avenue.

They appeared in court on Tuesday July 17 and the case was postponed.

However, the land invaders are not relenting.

Susan Fredericks, 48, said law enforcement had again come to confiscate their property last week.

“Colonel (Dawood) Laing told us that we can only have seven housing structures set up here, however, we cannot have just seven housing structures put up here when there are several families who need housing, it is impossible. We are very upset,” she said.

Another land invader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We just want help, we would like housing opportunities.”

Morris Kok, spokesperson for the Woodlands Home Seekers’ Association, said the situation was confusing.

“After we went to court, law enforcement came and took away the already built houses. Lentegeur SAPS informed us that they would be coming to collect the structures set up. We are really confused at this point about where we stand with SAPS and law enforcement. Over the past few months, (residents) lost everything and they were very upset about it.”

Anotherresident,Latiefa Meyer, 39, said the children were being traumatised.

“Law enforcement threatens us in order for us to take our housing structures down. The court said they cannot remove us until November 5. Our children are traumatised. When they see or hear the vans coming to collect our things, the children get hysterical. It is not nice to go through this.

“The other day we had to sleep in the rain, after our things were taken by law enforcement. This leaves us heartbroken to see them treat us like we are nothing.”

Colonel Dawood Laing, acting station commander of Lentegeur police station, said the council applied for the interdict.

“They were made aware that they cannot stay on the designated land they had cordoned off as their own. In the beginning there was about 45 structures put in place and law enforcement removed it. Thereafter seven housing structures were rebuilt. We told them if their houses were completed they would be able to sleep in it. They then extended the structure for more invaders and therefore (law enforcement) removed their structures again.

“I advised them to not burn tyres as this could jeopardise their chances with the case. They are still not allowed to occupy the land as it is illegal. Law enforcement will continue to take instructions from the order of the court.”

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, said: “Yes, the trespassing case was registered at the Lentegeur SAPS and the City also obtained a court interdict. It is illegal to occupy that land and the City will continue to act to prevent land invasions.

“In addition, the provision of services on new illegally formed settlements is not planned and is therefore not included in the City’s current budget or resource allocation. Priority is given to service provision for existing settlements.”

She said illegal connections of electricity and water in newly established unplanned settlements place the entire city at risk.

“The City will continue to direct available resources into new housing opportunities for those on the housing waiting list and for the provision of services for existing settlements. To improve the living conditions of our most vulnerable residents, the City has earmarked more than R850 million alone for the upgrading of existing informal settlements across Cape Town,” she said.