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260 lockdown ‘land invasions’ and counting for City of Cape Town

By | COVID 19, Eviction news, Eviction notice, Evictions

The land invaders use graders to erect illegal structures.

The land invaders use graders to erect illegal structures.
  • There have been at least 260 incidents of alleged land invasions in Cape Town during the April to July lockdown period.
  • In addition to damage to roads and infrastructure, more than R1.3 billion of housing projects are under threat.
  • The provincial government is counting on the police and the SANDF to step up arrests of perpetrators.

The City of Cape Town has dealt with 260 incidents of alleged illegal land occupation between April and July’s lockdown, the Western Cape government said in a plea to the police and military for help to stave off “highly coordinated and sophisticated” incidents.

This comes as shacks are erected amid violent clashes with law enforcement authorities, and new settlements, with names such as “Covid Village”, emerge to reflect the complexities of the situation during the coronavirus pandemic.

One settlement sprung up on the path of the Diep River, near Dunoon, and during the recent heavy storms, the shacks were submerged in water.

A joint statement by MECs for Human Settlements, Tertius Simmers, Community Safety, Albert Fritz, and Local Government, Anton Bredell, said they are consulting provincially and with the City of Cape Town over the crisis.

A meeting scheduled between Fritz and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole for Tuesday is aimed at getting more help in coordinating the prevention of invasions and the arrests of perpetrators.

They also called on courts not to let those arrested off with a “slap on the wrist”.

When a naked Bulelani Qolani was dragged out of his Khayelitsha shack in June, it wasn’t the first eviction residents like him experienced — and it won’t be the last. But where must residents go?

In the latest attempts at occupying vacant land, there have been violent clashes between large groups of people and police in Kraaifontein.

At the weekend, a Metro Police officer was burnt when an incendiary device was thrown at the vehicle he was in. He doused the fire, but sustained injuries to his face and neck.


The City of Cape Town said at least 40 staffers had been injured in altercations.

Reports indicate that civilians are also being injured during these confrontations.

“I condemn the violent protest action surrounding many of the land invasions in the strongest terms,” said Fritz.

“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.

“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.

“It is completely unacceptable that infrastructure, such as roads and arterials, are being damaged by tire burning and that the safety and well-being of residents is further being infringed on by the stone throwing, petrol bombs and other violent and dangerous behaviour.

“It has become clear that those who are complicit and involved in these illegal events only have criminal intentions,” stated Simmers.

Bredell said the issue was widespread across the province.

The Western Cape government has indicated that it is also having problems handing houses over to beneficiaries as some people are preventing the occupation of the newly built houses.

The Disaster Management Act regulations prevent evictions during the period of the declared disaster, and also prohibits illegal land occupation.

We would like to win that land in Stellenbosch because it belongs to us – ‘Azania’ residents

However, Western Cape High Court Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe ruled in favour of Hout Bay’s Ginola Phillips, whose Wendy house in Hangberg was taken down. He had been evicted from a site he had built on.

Salie-Hlophe called the eviction “deplorable” and ordered that his goods be returned and that his home be rebuilt.

Reprinted from News 24 by Jenni Evans

Simon Dippenaar & Associates, Inc. is a firm of specialist eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town and now operating in Johannesburg and Durban, helping both landlords and tenants with the eviction process. Contact one of our attorneys on 086 099 5146 or if you need advice on the eviction process or if you are facing unlawful eviction.

Further Reading:

Methodist Church preparing court order to remove refugees amid health, safety concerns

By | Eviction news

 A general view of refugees at the Central Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square.

A general view of refugees at the Central Methodist Church in Greenmarket Square. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Brenton Geach)

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa is in the process of bringing an eviction order against hundreds of refugees, who have been living in its Central Methodist Mission in Cape Town since last year, on the grounds of health and safety.”The grounds are what we’ve been saying all along – it’s been a health and safety risk from the beginning, which I mentioned when people were already there,” said Reverend Alan Storey.He added the safe space was no longer a safe space due to the risks, and the church would be defeating its original offer and intention – of safety – to let the group stay.Storey said the risk of Covid-19 had brought an additional sense of urgency, but they were not doing it just to clear out the church.Leadership dispute

He added there were children who have not been outside the church on Greenmarket Square since December 29, when a leadership dispute split the group in two – with one inside and another outside the church.

A note has also been put up outside the church recently by the group to ask tourists not to enter as they have usually done as Covid-19 measures are in place.

On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the declaration of a national state of disaster, and measures include limiting public gatherings to 100 people.

Religious institutions have announced the postponement of planned mass gatherings, and changed the way prayers are offered.

One of the leaders of the “inside” group at the Central Methodist Mission, JP Balous, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and his case was postponed to 30 March, according to Western Cape National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila.

Balous was arrested for the alleged intimidation of SA Human Rights Commission commissioner Chris Nissen, and also on an unrelated assault case. During an appearance on 7 March pandemonium ensued during court proceedings.

Storey said he had spoken to the leader of the “inside” group, Aline Bukuru, to express his concern over the health and safety of the group, which includes at least 50 small children.

Fire hazard

“We forget that it [the cramped living conditions] is a complete fire hazard.”

The group originally camped out at the Waldorf Arcade where the UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s office is based to demand relocation to a third country, citing xenophobia.

They were removed by the police at the end of October last year who used water cannons and stun grenades. Thereafter, Storey offered them shelter as they wandered around Greenmarket Square in a daze with their luggage.

They have been told it is not possible as a group to be relocated, and must apply individually.

The “outside” group eventually decamped to a site opposite the Cape Town Central police station after being removed by law enforcement invoking by-laws against living and cooking on the pavements around the church.

Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs has asked for feedback on what the department and City of Cape Town intend doing about the situation.

Storey said lawyers were still working on the application, and he did not have a court date yet.

In a church notice, also announcing there would be no services due to Covid-19, he wrote: “In closing, I have a great concern about the refugees in the CMM sanctuary…

“… They are attempting to practice frequent hand washing, etc. But the truth is the conditions inside the sanctuary are ripe for a virus of any sort to spread, let alone the highly contagious coronavirus. As a result, our legal processes are addressing this matter with increased urgency.”

Source: News24 (emphasis by SD Law*)

* SD Law is a Cape Town law firm of specialist eviction lawyers. Our eviction attorneys also help landlords and tenants in Johannesburg and Durban with the eviction process. Contact us today for legal help with evicting a tenant, or to defend a tenant from an illegal eviction.

Further reading:

‘I would like to die here’

By | Eviction news, Evictions

The fight over a piece of land in Noordhoek has lasted 13 years, and still there seems to be no end in sight.

Several families who have lived on the corner of Noordhoek Main Road and Kenali Close for generations are at loggerheads with the current property owner, Judy Sole.

The families, who say they have been living on the property since even before 1950, claim they made verbal agreements with the previous owner, Japie De Villiers, to live on parts of the farm. When De Villiers died, they continued to reside on the plot.

According to Sole she bought the 1.45 hectare property in 2006. It was on auction for R3.1 million.

She says she notified the residents that they would have to move out in 2016 but received no response from them until she served them with the official notice of eviction.

The residents allegedly appealed the eviction under the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act, and later argued that their residence on the property was covered by the Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA). ESTA deals with the eviction of residents illegally residing on rural or peri-urban land.

According to ESTA, long-term occupiers (those persons who have resided on a farm for more than 10 years and are over 60 years of age) cannot be evicted. This applies to those who cannot provide labour to a land owner as a result of ill health, disability or injury. The court case is still unresolved.

Cecil Morkel lives with his family in one part of the old main building on the farm. It was built around 1927.

In terms of ESTA, a person who has an income in excess of the prescribed amount of R5 000 can be evicted.

Morkel says he only has a part-time job, which does not bring in much money.

Another resident, Walter Sampson, lives in an informal home put up on the property after the building he occupied collapsed. He says he has lived there all his life. “I was born here – at False Bay Hospital – and I’ve always lived here,” says the 50-year-old.

He works one day a week in Kommetjie.

His daughter, Berendine, lives with him. For a small income, she takes care of a child belonging to one of the residents during the day and sells fire wood. She says the farm is the only home she’s ever known.

“I would like to die on this farm. My grandparents died here and all of us were born here – my kids were also born here.”

Residents say, if Sole were to offer them alternative living arrangements, they would be open to it provided it would be in Noordhoek.

But Chris Middelbrook, an attorney representing one of the residents, says relocation will probably result in them being moved to Ocean View, Blikkiesdorp, Delft or Wolwerivier.

Berendine says none of them would like to move to any of these locations as the Noordhoek community is all they know and the farm is where they make their living.

Marilyn Morkel and Kathy Liell-Cock were offered monetary compensation to leave. Morkel took the option several years ago, but according to her daughter, Micheala Jaftha (who still lives on the farm), her mother was never paid in full.

“The deal was that Marilyn and her whole household were to leave. So I paid her half of the money and only she left. The rest of them are still there,” says Sole.

She says all of the other residents have agreed to leave, except Morkel’s family and the Sampson family. The next court date is set for later this month.

Source: Peoples Post posted by News24 (emphasis by SD Law*)

*SD Law is a law firm of eviction lawyers, based in Cape Town, offering legal eviction services across South Africa, including eviction lawyers in Johannesburg and eviction lawyers in Durban. Our specialist eviction attorneys offer landlord and tenants advice and representation on the eviction process, eviction notices, and how to evict a tenant.

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