SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

23 July 2014

South Africa: First Hearings Into Lwandle Evictions Wrap Up

Photo: Adam Armstrong/GroundUp
The aftermath of shack demolitions in Lwandle (file photo).

The ministerial enquiry set up to investigate the evictions in Lwandle, Cape Town, has concluded the first round of oral representations, says the Department of Human Settlements.

A number of entities and institutions have appeared before the members of the enquiry, since the start of the hearings on 11 July, at the Good Hope Sub-Council Building, 44 Wale Street.

They include the national Department of Human Settlements, Housing Development Agency (HDA), an eye witness who was present when the first evictions in Nomzamo took place, Tim Flack, Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa, Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement, Sobahlangula Social Investment Project (SSIP), Nomzamo (Lwandle) Ward Councillor, Mbuyiselo Matha, the Sheriff and SANRAL.

The department said the City of Cape Town and the provincial Department of Human Settlements did not make oral presentations. The city did, however, submit a detailed written document concerning their role in the subject matter under discussion.

The first round of hearings was expected to focus on institutions and entities that had a direct role in the evictions. The second round will focus on community members who were directly affected by the evictions.

The last category of hearings will concentrate on other parties, such as non-governmental organisations.

The ministerial enquiry was appointed by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, on 4 June, to investigate the eviction of more than 800 residents 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 was reportedly owned by the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral), which is earmarked for road construction.

Their shacks were demolished and set alight. Many people lost most or all of their possessions.

The minister gave the Commission of Enquiry two months to report back with the findings that would reveal the circumstances that led to the inhumane evictions.

It will probe the execution of the court order by SANRAL and the role of the relevant Sheriff for the jurisdiction of Cape Town; the roles of the SAPS, the Cape Town Metro Police and any other official of the national, provincial and local government involved.

The enquiry will also aim to establish the identity of the affected members of the informal settlement community of Lwandle and how the community came to be on the land in question when there is a waiting list for the provision of housing in terms of government programmes.

The public hearings will adjourn from today to allow the members of the enquiry to visit Lwandle to obtain written statements from the members of the community who were directly affected by the evictions.

This will take place at the Nomzamo Community Hall from 5pm.

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