260 Land Invasions, Western Cape Govt Calls for Police Action

The city of Cape Town’s law enforcement unit had to respond to 260 incidents of illegal land invasions between April and July, according to the Western Cape government, which has said the SA Police Service and all relevant law enforcement agencies should immediately arrest those leading the land grabs.

khayelitsha mfuleni cape town south africa
Mfuleni, Cape Town.

“It has become clear that those who are complicit and involved in these illegal events only have criminal intentions,” said Tertius Simmer, Western Cape Minister of Human Settlements, in a joint statement today. “This past weekend’s illegal invasion and subsequent damage caused at the Kraaifontein racing track is an example of this.”

Between April and July this year, the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement had to respond to 260 incidents of illegal land invasions. The city said that more than 40 Law Enforcement and Metro Police officers had been injured while attending to the numerous land invasions across the city.

Simmer had discussions with the Ministers of Community Safety and Local Government, Albert Fritz and Anton Bredell, to try find a solution to this problem “currently plaguing the province, and more so the City of Cape Town.”

“In the meanwhile, SAPS must demonstrate to this province’s citizens that they will not allow these illegal acts to continue. They have a duty and more so now under the current regulations to uphold and enforce the laws of the country.

“I trust our courts will take swift action against those charged. Our Courts are critical in this pipeline, as there’s an unfortunate perception that those involved in these illegal land grabs and destruction of property tends to only get a slap on the wrist, after appearing in Court.”

“The land invasions taking placing are highly coordinated and sophisticated in their execution, having already occupied large plots of land in areas such as Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Khayelitsha,” said Fritz. “In many cases the land being occupied is already designated for services aimed at developing the communities and therefore undermines the community in which it takes place.”

He condemned the violent protest action surrounding many of the invasions, and said he would be meeting tomorrow with National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole, on the spate of land invasion and violent protest action in the Western Cape.

“Various municipal areas across the province, in particular the City of Cape Town, are currently under huge strain from repeated attempts to invade land earmarked for housing projects, community basic services, nature conservation land or play parks for communities,” said Bredell. “This is impacting ongoing projects, service delivery and existing community facilities to the detriment of the existing communities.”

In the City of Cape Town alone, more than R1.3 billion of housing projects are currently under threat from land invasions. Law enforcement actions to prevent the illegal occupations have been met in some areas with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities, the statement said.