Lwandle residents get hot meals

2014-06-04 11:29
People watch as their dwellings are dismantled in Lwandle, near Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

People watch as their dwellings are dismantled in Lwandle, near Cape Town. (Rodger Bosch, AFP)

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Cape Town - Around 800 people evicted from Lwandle in Cape Town received hot meals as a cold front hit the city on Wednesday morning.

"There are around 800 people but we are catering hot meals, blankets, and mattresses for 1000 people," said disaster risk management centre spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes.

Residents were being accommodated at the Nonzamo community hall in Strand.

This, as a cold front brought very cold, windy, and wet conditions to the Cape, with snowfall expected over the high-lying areas of the province.

Solomons-Johannes said the residents were displaced after 223 shacks were demolished earlier in the week.

Their eviction began on Monday and continued into Tuesday.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), the owner of the land, was granted an eviction order by the Western Cape High Court earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the transport department said the evictions at Lwandle near Strand should be put on hold.

"Minister [Dipuo] Peters undertook to issue a directive to Sanral to withdraw the court order while short- and long-term solutions are sought to resolve the challenges at hand," spokesperson Tiyani Ponto-Rikhotso said in a statement.

"To this effect, the affected families would be allowed to return to the land they were evicted from pending discussions regarding long-term solutions to their challenges."

He said the human settlements department and the transport department committed to engage with the provincial government and the City of Cape Town to find solutions for the people evicted.

"Minister Peters and minister [Lindiwe] Sisulu emphasised the need for institutions of government to take responsibility for the welfare of communities they serve and desist from apportioning blame on others."

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said, while the people would be allowed to settle temporarily, government did not encourage illegal occupation of land.

"We must be very clear, we do not encourage illegal occupation of land, it is the inhumane way in which children and women are being removed during winter that we are concerned about. The people will have to move out of the land when necessary arrangements are made," Sisulu said.

On Wednesday, the African National Congress welcomed the intervention by Peters and Sisulu.

ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said their intervention would help residents return to the land while alternative land for lawful accommodation was found.

"The ANC in the Western Cape will work with the community to ensure that the unfortunate occurrence is never repeated," he said.

A delegation visited the area on Tuesday and was briefed by the human settlements department in the Western Cape, Sanral, and representatives of the community.

Sisulu said an inquiry would be established to investigate all processes and procedures followed by all involved until the removal was authorised by the high court and subsequently implemented this week.

Her spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said Sisulu would visit the area on Wednesday to see what assistance government could give those affected.

"She will visit the area today [Wednesday] to look at how to resolve the problem," he said.

She was expected to appoint a chair for the inquiry before Sunday, he said.

"The minister wants this to be completed as soon as possible."

Western Cape police said 10 people had been arrested for alleged public violence since the evictions began, with petrol bombs thrown and tyres set alight.

Read more on:    sanral  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  dipuo peters  |  cape town  |  lwandle evictions  |  land  |  local government

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