Cape Town - The Western Cape Department of Human Settlements has raised concerns over illegal land invasions and is urging civil society and communities to help prevent any more such actions during the holiday period.
Human Settlements MEC Tertius Simmers said land invasions are costing the Western Cape millions of rand and adding to the backlog in providing housing.
Simmers said that since July 2020, there have been 1 639 land invasion attempts on his department’s properties throughout the province.
“As we embark on the holiday season, the construction sector, along with many others, is taking a well-deserved break for the next few weeks. Regrettably, those with criminal intent regard this as an opportunity to invade land or our units that are under construction.
“For the 2021/22 financial year, we’ve already spent R 97.2 million on securing our properties and preventing these invasions.”
He said the recent invasion attempts at the Forest Village Development in Eerste River, saw 104 units vandalised and that the damage incurred is in excess of R588 000.
“Those who were due to move in early in the new year will now have to wait so much longer to live in a safer and improved environment.”
At the same time, civil society groups have said that under-utilised military land could help solve Cape Town’s housing crisis.
Ndifuna Ukwazi have partnered with the Development Action Group, the Community Organisation Resources Centre, the Legal Resources Centre and others, in a call to the national government to immediately release three large, well-located and under-used military sites in Cape Town for the development of low-income housing.
Ndifuna Ukwazi researcher Michael Clark said in a newsletter: “The three military airports, Ysterplaat, Wingfield and Youngsfield, have the potential to combat Cape Town’s affordable housing crisis and alleviate the most harmful effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has driven many into homelessness.”
Clark said that by releasing these sites, the national government could make room for up to 67 000 low-income families, which would be equal to almost a fifth of the City’s housing waiting list and answer a decades-long call to address the gross spatial inequalities in the city.