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Kenfac residents bemoan illegal occupations

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Irate residents of the Kensington-Facreton community held a meeting on Monday evening, to discuss the situation surrounding a sizable strip of land in the area that has been subject of several attempted occupations. The Wingfield Military Base has come under threat from illegal occupiers in recent weeks, and residents have demanded the land owners take responsibility in keeping the land secure.

The site in question is currently owned by the Ndabeni Trust, which compromises over 1000 claimants who were forcibly removed from Ndabeni. The claimants were awarded the roughly 50ha of land after a successful restitution claim in 2001, but little to no development has taken place on the site since.

In recent weeks there have been a number of attempts to illegally occupy the land.

Kenfac Ratepayers Association chairperson, Dawood Esack, said they had already held a meeting with the trustees of the Ndabeni Trust, some of whom were not even aware of the situation. He said the group had resolved to address the issue with the Lands Claim Commission by the 1st October. Despite this, he said the community were yet to receive any feedback or evidence that such took place.

According to Esack, the main issue of concern amongst Kenfac residents centered around the trustees failure to appropriately take care of the land, which was in turn drawing illegal occupants to the area.

“Fortunately for us, with the cooperation with ward councilor Lisa McBride, and the residents and Ratepayers Association, we’ve been able to manage the situation fairly well up until now,” he said.

Esack noted the community had specifically designated an anti-land invasion unit to be station at the site on a daily basis, who would ensure that no further attempts were made to occupy it.

Asked whether the Kenfac community could form a collaborative and coordinated effort with the Ndabeni Trust to secure the land, Esack said a similar proposal had been put forward by councilor McBride during the meeting.

He further proposed that part of the land be sold back to the City of Cape Town, with the stipulation that it be used to deal with the areas ‘backyard housing’ issue.

“That would be a win-win situation for everyone,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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