3 minute read
4 Jun 2014
8:17 am

Lwandle evictions must stop – minister

Evictions at Lwandle near Strand in the Western Cape must be put on hold, the transport department said on Wednesday.

FILE PICTURE: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters. Picture: Refilwe Modise

“Minister [Dipuo] Peters undertook to issue a directive to Sanral to withdraw the court order while short and long term solutions are sought to resolve the challenges at hand,” spokesman Tiyani Ponto-Rikhotso said in a statement.

“To this effect, the affected families would be allowed to return to the land they were evicted from pending discussions regarding long term solutions to their challenges.”

He said the human settlements department and the transport department committed to engage with the provincial government and the City of Cape Town to find solutions for the people evicted.

“Minister Peters and Minister [Lindiwe] Sisulu emphasised the need for institutions of government to take responsibility for the welfare of communities they serve and desist from apportioning blame on others.”

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said while the people would be allowed to settle temporarily, government does not encourage illegal occupation of land.

“We must be very clear, we do not encourage illegal occupation of land, it is the inhumane way in which children and women are being removed during winter that we are concerned about, the people will have to move out of the land when necessary arrangements are made,” Sisulu said.

A delegation visited the area on Tuesday and were briefed by the human settlements department in the Western Cape, Sanral and representatives of the community.

The department said that after a visit, the ministers agreed that Sanral and the city could have handled the dispute and the whole relocation process differently.

On Wednesday, Sisulu said the City of Cape Town and Sanral should have handled the evictions at Lwandle better.

“What we saw in the media, the information we gathered from the community, reports we received from Sanral and statements from the City of Cape Town leaves us with many unanswered questions,” she said in a statement.

“It is not possible that in the middle of a very cold Western Cape winter and rains and children writing exams the whole community can be removed in brutal force, that concerns me as the minister of human settlement, we are a caring government.”

Sisulu said an inquiry would be established to investigate all processes and procedures followed by all involved until the removal was authorised by the High Court and subsequently implemented this week.

Her spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya said Sisulu would visit the area on Wednesday to see what assistance government can give those affected.

“She will visit the area today [Wednesday] to look at how to resolve the problem,” he said.

She was expected to appoint a chairperson for the enquiry before Sunday, he said.

“The minister wants this to be completed as soon as possible.”

Sisulu would visit the site on Wednesday.

The eviction of shack dwellers began on Monday and continued into Tuesday.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), the owner of the land, was granted an eviction order by the Western Cape High Court earlier this year.

Western Cape police said 10 people had been arrested for alleged public violence since the evictions began, with petrol bombs thrown and tyres set alight.