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City of Cape Town to approach ConCourt as unlawful occupations increase

By | constitutional law, Eviction news, Homeless

Reprinted from News24, by Cebelihle Mthethwa – 2021-10-27

  • The City of Cape Town will be approaching the Constitutional Court for assistance regarding unlawful occupations.
  • According to the City, there had been an increase in unlawful occupations.
  • This had resulted in large pockets of City-owned land earmarked for the development of public services.

The City of Cape Town says it will approach the Constitutional Court to challenge a part of the Disaster Management Act (DMA) regulations following an increase in unlawful occupations.

According to the City, following the declaration of the state of national disaster due to Covid-19, it had observed an increase in unlawful occupation as well as an increase in a variety of makeshift structures and tented camps being erected throughout the metro.

This included parks, environmentally sensitive pockets of land, road reserves, pavements, under bridges and between highway barriers.

“This has resulted in the unlawful occupation of large pockets of City-owned land earmarked for the development of public services,” the City said in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that the Western Cape High Court judgment in the matter of South African Human Rights Commission versus City of Cape Town and Others had severely curtailed the private property owners and the City’s ability to protect its land, leaving the City with few options to prevent and respond to unlawful occupations.

“To this end, the City will be applying for eviction applications on 595 tented camp and land invasion hotspots.”

According to the Cape metro, the continued land invasions negatively impacted on the City’s ability to comply with its constitutional mandate. In 2017, there were 14 289 land invasions in the City.


“In 2018, that number had increased to 87 500 land invasions and by 2018, 232 8559 ha [hectares] of City owned land had been lost to unlawful occupiers,” the City added.

Most of the unlawfully occupied land was said to not be suitable for human settlements or the installation of bulk services and had great constraints.

“The City’s ability to protect its property is severely curtailed, the unlawful occupations are an extreme health and safety hazard for unlawful occupiers, some of whom have occupied dams, wetlands, nature reserves and waterlogged land, and the City is called on to provide emergency housing to unlawful occupiers before it can access its land to deliver services, including housing and sanitation to the thousands of residents who have not taken the law into their own hands.”

The metro said that through rates funding, it contributed to operating and maintenance costs for informal settlements, but added that resources were not unlimited.

“The president and the minister of co-operative governance have not responded to the City’s requests to engage in respect of the up-liftment of the DMA regulations. The City therefore has no alternative, but to apply to the court to have the regulations set aside,” the City added.

For further information

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

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