The SA Human Rights Commission has called for state authorities, including police crime intelligence experts, to uncover those behind the “wave of land-occupations” taking place in Cape Town.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato announced this week: “Attempts to illegally occupy land, City projects or community facilities include several orchestrated attempts in Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Wallacedene, Delft (Blikkiesdorp), Dunoon, Firgrove (Macassar), Milnerton and Nyanga, among others.”
The SA Human Rights Commission’s Reverend Chris Nissen has called on all relevant state authorities, including the police’s crime intelligence service, to uncover who may be behind the current “wave of land invasions”.
“I have seen this wave of invasions, and asked myself why the City of Cape Town is not preventing these invasions?
“The Human Rights Commission does not condone any illegal land grabs. There are communities sitting on waiting lists for 30 years or more. People must respect the law and not jump the queue.
“At the same time, we recognise the needs of homeless people – but it needs to be done in an orderly fashion,” Nissen told News24.
Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Khayelitsha on Saturday morning where he listened to the concerns of residents after Cape Town law enforcement officers evicted locals, including Bulelani Qolani while he was taking a bath.
On the land occupations, Nissen said the HRC’s urgent interdict was due to be heard in the Western Cape Division of the High Court on Friday July 24, and sought three rulings:
- First, that the City of Cape Town had to have a court order, in order to evict anyone.
- Second, that court orders could only be executed post-lockdown.
- And, third, that the City evicted in a “humane way”, and “dismantled”, not demolished structures.
Nissen denounced any suggestion that land invasions were in any way linked to the HRC’s pending court case; and said he suspected other forces could be at work.
“Crime intelligence must investigate,” Nissen urged, to put a stop to the current “wave of land invasions”.
Equally, he said the legitimate needs of the homeless had to be tackled by the City of Cape Town.
In a statement on Tuesday, Plato said land under threat from invaders included “land for services, nature conservation land, play parks or City housing projects”.
“The City, together with law enforcement agencies, is doing its best to thwart the attempts, but it is mostly large-scale, well-planned, well-funded and orchestrated invasions. Actions to prevent the invasions or illegal occupations are also being met in some areas with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities,” Plato said.