The City of Cape Town has assured residents that the Bo-Kaap anti-land invasion raid this week was conducted after due process was followed. Law enforcement officials demolished symbolic “protest shacks” constructed on an open field on Voetboog Road in Bo-Kaap , which consequently sparked anger from the community. But, mayco member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services, councillor Xanthea Limberg, explained that the City only does anti-land invasion removals once assessments have been conducted.
Limberg said that in the Bo-Kaap case 11 illegally erected structures were located on the site.
“When the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit with our contractors and other City law enforcement agencies cleared the land, these structures were unoccupied and we confiscated the material – as is always the case – the community became volatile and one of the contractors was targeted by the community.”
According to Limberg, the City only removes illegal structures if they are unoccupied.
She said that where illegal structures are occupied the City can only remove them after a court has provided it with an eviction order.
“Every land invasion is slightly different; certain invasions happen on private land and there we need the private land owner to take legal action in order for the City to then act on the land,” she stated.
While it is alleged that residents were injured in the Bo-Kaap raid, Limberg said authorities had to use pepper spray against protesters to secure the release of one of the City’s contracted land invasion service providers who had been targeted by the community.
Limberg said the City has video evidence that showed why the situation became volatile on the site.
“The City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit did not in any way attempt to harm any resident [and] we did not use excessive force.
“I know that residents who claimed that they were harmed went to the police station, but to date no case has been opened, [police] issued an incident number,” Limberg added.
Limberg noted that the City is limited in its capacity to deal with the apparent increase land invasions since February this year.
Meanwhile, the chairperson Bokaap Civic and Ratepayers Association, Osman Shaboodien, said residents will continue to ensure that the needs of the Bo-Kaap community are met.
“What we are trying to do now, for which we had a meeting last night, is basically to look at the way forward.
“The challenge is we don’t want people to get injured [and] violence to erupt.”