9 June 2014

South Africa: Evicted Lwandle Residents to Move to Kuils River

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

A large stretch of land owned by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) in Kuils River will soon become home to dozens of evicted Lwandle residents.

The first 100 people are expected to move on Thursday.

The land, which runs from Albert Philander Way in Gaylee, Blackheath, to Hindle Road, consists of two large fields separated by a road.

Situated about 20 kilometres from Strand, it will accommodate 2,000 people including former residents of the SANRAL-owned land in Lwandle.

Yesterday, the news of the land in Kuils River was met with mixed reactions from former residents of the Nomzamo informal settlement. Some were worried about the distance from Strand and from their children's schools.

Exactly a week ago, the homes of more than 800 people were demolished in Lwandle, Strand after SANRAL obtained a court interdict to have them removed. According to SANRAL, the land had been set aside for a future N2 highway project.

The evicted families have been housed at the nearby Nomzamo Community Hall.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has committed the department to helping the Nomzamo residents and has appointed a ministerial task team to probe their eviction.

Residents gathered in the community hall for an interfaith prayer service yesterday afternoon.

Work on the land in Kuils River was yet to start as it was still covered in large trees and bushes.

Ward Councillor Mbuyiselo Matha said contractors appointed by SANRAL were expected to start work on the land today.

"It was decided in a meeting that the people would go straight to the new land. The site contractors will start work on the layout. SANRAL will be paying for the new building material and contractors will assist residents to build their own places," he said.

Matha added that residents would remain in the community hall in the meantime. The first 100 people were expected to move to Kuils River on Thursday.

But it is not clear whether the Nomzamo residents will recover the possessions they lost when they were evicted.

Matha said the materials from the demolition had been taken to open land near Sir Lowry's Pass. "The other goods like TVs and stoves were taken to a storage facility in Somerset Business Park. However, we are still not sure what is in there because a lot of the goods were also destroyed," he said.

Matha said residents were happy with the land in Kuils River as it was the best option presented by SANRAL.

"When we met with SANRAL last week, they showed us three pieces of land. We reported back to the community and this was the better choice. People were happy when they heard they were moving to land permanently. It's big enough to accommodate everyone. SANRAL committed to providing transport to and from school for the children, but we are still not sure for how long," he said.

Resident Veronica Lujabo, 36, said she was relieved to be moving, but was worried about the distance from Strand.

"My children go to school here and if they miss the bus, how will they get to school? They don't know how to take the train. I work in the mall, so I will also have to travel back here. But we don't have a choice. I'm just happy I will have my own place again." she said.

Lungiswa Mzini said: "It's a good idea because we won't have to worry about being evicted again. We just want to know where all our stuff was stored and we hope we get it back. My TV was taken which I'm still paying off, so I don't know what to do."

SANRAL spokesman Vusi Mona had not responded to GroundUp's request for comment by last night.

More on This

Lwandle Residents to Move to New Sanral-Owned Land

Hundreds of Lwandle residents whose homes were demolished earlier this week will be moved back to new SANRAL-owned land… Read more »

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