'City, Sanral conspired against Lwandle residents'

2014-10-23 18:18

The mass eviction of more than 800 families from SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) land in Lwandle near Somerset West earlier this year was illegal, says Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

“The parties who knowingly conspired and effected the eviction, mainly Sanral, the City of Cape Town, the sheriff of Strand, the SA Police Service, and the law enforcement agencies of the City of Cape Town, acted irregularly,” she told MPs in the National Assembly today.

Tabling the report of a ministerial inquiry into the evictions – which took place on June 2 and 3 this year – she said the court order the agencies had used to effect the mass removal of the families did not authorise them to do so.

The community had occupied the land illegally.

“A court order was obtained with a specific directive to prevent the imminent invasion of the land on January 24. The same court order did not authorise Sanral or anybody else to effect an eviction.”

Sisulu said that among the findings of the report was that Sanral had “knowingly abused the court order to effect the eviction”.

The court application made was for an interim interdict, limited to preventing further invasion only.

“Sanral knew that, and all the agencies that co-operated with Sanral knew that. The court order was not an eviction. The court did not authorise the removal of any persons or structures already erected on the land. Therefore, the evictions on June 2 and 3 this year were illegal.”

Sisulu said the agencies did not have an eviction order, and did not follow the due processes of the law, as set out in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Prevention of Unlawful Occupation of Land Act.

“And therefore their actions – all of them – were illegal.”

Such mass evictions could not be tolerated in South Africa.

“What happened here, between the City of Cape Town, Sanral and the SA Police Service, was despicable, immoral and criminal.”

She said those who broke the law, and “carried out acts of immoral vandalism”, should be held accountable.

The report by the ministerial inquiry – headed by advocate Denzil Potgieter – was handed to Sisulu on October 8.

Sisulu told the House today that it would be sent to Parliament’s human settlements portfolio committee.

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