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Tuesday May 04, 2021

City of Cape Town gets interdict to boot District Six occupiers

The Western Cape High Court has granted the City of Cape Town an urgent interdict against the invaders of land in District Six, which has been earmarked for restitution.

The interim order interdicts and restrains any person from entering the properties for the purposes of unlawfully occupying or invading, erecting, completing or extending any structure on the properties, occupying any vacant structures on the properties and intimidating, threatening, harassing or assaulting, or in any way interfering with the work of officials, councillors and law enforcement.

Some of the occupants include a group that has erected tents opposite Cape Peninsula University of Technology, made up of 64 families called Social Liberals for Backyard Dwellers (SLBD), that were evicted from areas including Bo Kaap, Manenberg, Hanover Park, Mitchells Plain, and other areas.

SLBD chairperson Sharriefa Nolan said they were disturbed by the court order, adding that it was convenient for the High court to grant an urgent interdict to the marginalised citizens of the country.

"We have been engaging and pleading for three years, in a peaceful manner, to hear our plights. We are not politically affiliated like all these other informal settlements around the province, that are being funded by different political parties. We are social activists, fighting for our women and children – who are being mentally and emotionally abused, by not getting their basic human rights from all government entities. This is now the third time in history that we have to endure eviction on our own land. Our parents and grandparents left without getting their birthrights" she said.

Mayor Dan Plato, who welcomed the granting of an interdict, said the City has liaised with all landowners in the area and authorities remain on high alert.

"I recently met with the District Six Working Committee, who are committed to protecting the land and to working with the City, to ensure that the restitution process proceeds without any unnecessary delays. The City will do everything in its power and within the law, to continue to protect the rightful beneficiaries of District Six" said Plato.

The District Six Working Committee said they had engaged with some of the illegal land occupiers and understood that some have been promised RDP homes decades ago, while others were former District Six residents.

Spokesperson Karen Breytenbach said the land grabs robbed legitimate claimants, who have taken the painstaking legal route.

"Our claimants, who have fought for years for their restitution, are right at the point of return – we cannot and will not allow their determination to be derailed now. We commend the City of Cape Town for attempting to protect the rights of rightful beneficiaries" she said.

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku
Cape Argus


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