Demand for houses

2018-02-22 06:00
Protesters blocked the main road to the east, NY108, in Guguelthu, after their attempts to demarcate plots in an old building were thwarted by the police.

Protesters blocked the main road to the east, NY108, in Guguelthu, after their attempts to demarcate plots in an old building were thwarted by the police.

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Land grabbing is currently in full force in different townships in Cape Town with Gugulethu being the most recent to be up in flames.

On Monday afternoon shots rang out in NY108 as metro police evicted land grabbers who had helped themselves to the now derelict property used to be known as Uluntu Centre.

In response to the eviction, the grabbers protested by burning tyres, ripping out a busstop structure and planting it in the middle of the road in NY108. They also blockaded the road from NY1 to as far as the Barcelona informal settlement near the local cemetery.

These actions disrupted the traffic in and around the area with the grabbers saying they will not surrender.

A 28-year-old man speaking to City Vision on condition of anonymity said that they had been waiting for houses for a long time.

“We have been waiting for a long time and we heard that this piece of land has been sold so we decided to build our own homes.

They took our material but we are going to build again; they must come and evict us,” he said as he collected wooden planks among the concrete rubble.

Land grabbing is a not a new phenomenon in Cape Town as there have been a few failed attempts in Khayelitsha as well in Philippi.

There have been attempts to invade land next to the Philippi Plaza, near the Tesko Centre as well as the wetland near the Joe Gqabi Train Station.

According to Sharon Manata, Ward 40 Councillorb in Gugulethu, land grabbers have also invaded a piece of land next at the back of Duma’s Garage, in NY126.

“People have become impatient with the housing backlog and we need to address that. We need to start a conversation and find a solution as the City.

Land invasions have proven to be ineffective as all that happens is that people lose their structures in the end,” she said.

She said that land owners were well within their rights to evict illegal invaders but there needed to be a dialogue between those who needed housing and the powers that be to find a solution to this problem.

“The solution is not land invasion, but rather there should be discussions to find a meaningful solution,” said Manata.

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