Gov rids Military Rd of settlers

The national department of public works has reportedly given the City of Cape Town an undertaking that it will start addressing the longstanding complaints about its property in Military Road in the Bo-Kaap, also referred to as Erf 81.

Over the last few years, the site has been the source of numerous complaints to the City about criminality, anti-social behaviour and prostitution, says ward councillor Dave Bryant.

There are also concerns about the establishment of an illegal informal settlement on the site.

The farm building on the property has been listed as a problem building by the City of Cape Town.

“I have been working closely with local organisations, including the Bo-Kaap Civic Association, to try and get a handle on the situation. Metro police, law enforcement and the police do what they can, but ultimately the property owner needs to take responsibility,” he says.

Following a fire earlier in the year, community members believe more people have been setting up home on the site.

The fire, which displaced the 18 families living on the site, occurred at the end of January and was caused by an unattended candle, residents maintain (“‘No’ to shacks”, People’s Post, 24 February).

A petition about a derelict property on Military Road, which allegedly houses an informal settlement, was handed to the national department of public works in July (“600 want ‘land grabbers’ in city out”, People’s Post, 21 July).

Over 600 Tamboerskloof and Bo-Kaap residents signed the petition, which urges the department to take responsibility for the site, clean it up and properly administer the site, prevent “further land grab” and put a “stop to the illegal occupation of city and community resources”.

The City hosted a meeting with all concerned parties earlier this month.

In a statement, the City says “the department of public works indicated that it had already applied for the demolition of the farm building” and is considering various other uses for the site, including a request that the land be returned to the department of defence.

According to the City, the department of public works also undertook to repair the fencing, employ private security to guard the site and prevent more settlers from congregating on the land and start eviction proceedings.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says: “This is a step in the right direction and we will follow up with the relevant authorities to ensure that the process is completed in the shortest possible time. In the interim, the relevant enforcement agencies will continue with patrols to try and curb crime in the area and monitor the situation.”

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