5 June 2014

South Africa: Sanral to Give Lwandle Evictees New Land

Photo: Adam Armstrong/GroundUp
Police officers prepare to oversee the destruction of shacks (file photo).

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) will avail a piece of land to accommodate residents, who were evicted from illegally occupied land, in Lwandle and Nomzamo in the Western Cape.

Minister Sisulu has also given the panel, which was appointed to be part of the Commission of Enquiry, two months to report back with the findings that would reveal the circumstances that led to the inhumane evictions.

This comes after 800 residents were evicted from their informal settlements following a court order that they be removed, as the land they stayed on was being occupied illegally.

The land in question is reportedly owned by Sanral.

Following finger-pointing between Sanral, the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town, Minister Sisulu said she, together with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, has taken responsibility for the evictions, and said her team was already hard at work trying to provide the evicted families with alternative accommodation.

She said the unfortunate crisis has become a special project in her department.

"We must start by putting it on record that we do not tolerate, condone nor encourage any illegal occupation of land in our country. Of concern to us was the carelessness in which the evictions happen.

"What is of concern to us is how they happened at all in that particular way. How did we get to that situation?" she said.

She said residents had indicated, after meeting with her, that they favoured her proposal for them to choose a piece of land where they would relocate to permanently after houses have been built.

She said the six-member enquiry will probe all the processes that led to the evictions, from the role of all government officials involved to the role of the courts that issued the eviction order, to how the residents ended up occupying the piece of land and where they are on the housing list.

The minister said after hearing about the evictions, she, together with Minister Peters, went to visit the area. Minister Sisulu said after meeting with the evicted residents at their temporary accommodation, she suggested to them that they should chose a piece of land from a list of plots that Sanral would avail so that houses can be built for them on a land they will stay on permanently.

She said emergency housing kits will be given to the community for them to erect on another piece of land temporarily while they wait for their houses to be built.

The minister also said Human Settlements had set aside an emergency fund for them that would be used to deal with the crisis.

- SAnews.gov.za

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