From the news desk

Clashes between Parkwood residents and city officials

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Mayhem broke out in Parkwood on Tuesday as residents clashed with law enforcement officials attempting to dismantle illegal structures in the area. Residents burnt tyres and threw stones in protest, as the City of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit (ALIU) swooped into the area to demolish the 63 structures, unoccupied at the time.

“The invasion started on Sunday evening, when a group of backyard dwellers erected illegal structures in Acacia Road. When ALIU staff arrived at the scene at about 22:30 that night, they found 50 residents in the process of erecting small structures. They warned the group that they were acting unlawfully and that they should take down the structures,” said Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements.

She said staff engaged with the group again at about 9am Monday morning, warning that they should refrain from erecting illegal structures.

A City facilitator then met with all role players, including the local ward councillor and representatives of the backyarders, to try and resolve the situation. At this meeting it was agreed that the backyarder representatives would return to the group and explain to them that they had to take down their illegal structures.

However, the group refused and the illegal structures were still in place on Tuesday morning, despite multiple warnings and engagement.

“Unfortunately, the community reacted with violence and aggression, despite all of the attempts at engagement and prior warning. A group of about 200 residents threw stones at City and SAPS staff and burnt tyres,” said Van Minnen.

She added that the City would continue to monitor the area and “take all necessary precautions” to prevent further illegal land invasions.

Grassy Park CPF chairperson Rev Phillip Bam, visited the site on Tuesday, and said city officials dealt with the situation in the best way possible.

Parkwood councillor William Akim told VOC News hese residents were on the housing waiting list for 26 years, and could no longer wait for homes.

But Van Minnen said while the housing need in the city is “acute”, residents could not jump the queue and illegal structures would not be tolerated.

VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)

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