A year after Hermanus unrest, land occupation unresolved

2019-06-18 05:47
Former Western Cape Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela addressing residents of Zwelihle in March 2018. Now residents say Madikizela has not kept his promises. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Former Western Cape Housing MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela addressing residents of Zwelihle in March 2018. Now residents say Madikizela has not kept his promises. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

More than a year has passed since unrest and protests over housing erupted in Hermanus, yet very little has been done to resolve the problem, GroundUp reported.

Zwelihle residents have called an urgent meeting with government and police management on June 24. They say that promises by then-MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela and Minister of Police Bheki Cele have not been kept.

In an effort to get residents to call off the protest in March last year, Madikizela told them that he had identified a plot of land to be developed for backyard dwellers.

On May 18, 2018, Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, told GroundUp that an agreement was reached with the land owner.

Last week, Zwelihle community leader Theron Mqhu said they were previously told that the Schulphoek land would be expropriated with reasonable compensation. He said they would be demanding answers from officials.

Back to court 

On Tuesday, residents occupying private land in Schulphoek, Hermanus, are due back in the High Court to oppose their eviction. The application was brought by the owners of the land, Cape Theme Parks and Cavcor.

About 4 000 former Zwelihle backyard dwellers have been occupying the land since March last year. They have named the informal settlement Dubai. Occupiers resisted numerous attempts by the Red Ants to remove them last year which resulted in unrest and protests in Hermanus.

The Zwelihle community and land occupiers say they were promised that Schulphoek would be used to build houses for backyarders. In 2010, the Overstrand municipality sold the land to property developers Rabcav (a joint venture of Cape Theme Parks and Cavcor).

Rabcav signed an agreement to sell the property to Cape Metropolitan Investments in May 2017 for R30m. The agreement states Rabcav has to hand over vacant land to Cape Metropolitan, hence the eviction proceedings.

In July last year, Stephen Müller, director for infrastructure and planning at Overstrand municipality said: "The minister is negotiating with the owners to buy Schulphoek."

He said that should the sale go through, it could take 24 months before any construction started at Schulphoek.

'Continued engagement'

This week, the municipality’s communications department said that the land (Schulphoek) had not yet been sold. They referred other questions to the Department of Human Settlements.

Nathan Adriaanse, spokesperson for the department, then referred queries to the Overstrand municipality.

On Wednesday, Marcellino Martin of the department said: "Continued engagements with all the stakeholders are currently ongoing."

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said investigations into a number of cases ranging from assault, attempted murder and various acts of alleged brutality, are still ongoing.

"We have been in contact with some of the victims through community leaders from a community meeting that was held last year, where we obtained various statements to initiate our investigations. We still intend to obtain further statements as part of the investigation, as well as other forms of evidence," he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  housing  |  land  |  service delivery  |  protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.