'Land Party' rises out of Hermanus plot demand

Hermanus residents opposing eviction are briefed by their lawyer  Ayanda Mdanjelwa. (Jenni Evans, News24)
Hermanus residents opposing eviction are briefed by their lawyer Ayanda Mdanjelwa. (Jenni Evans, News24)

An application to evict people who built shacks on privately owned land in Hermanus turned into a mini political rally by the newly formed "Land Party" on the steps of the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

"These people are prepared to die for that land," said newly elected party leader Gcobani Ndzongana - a former EFF member. 

He said the people living on the forested plot in Schulphoek, dubbed "Dubai", had nowhere else to live in nearby Zwelihle after they had grown up and married, because property prices were so high in the area. They lived in backyard rooms, and wanted somewhere to call their own.

Ndzongana said they were under the impression that there was an agreement that no one would be evicted while negotiations were under way for the government to buy the land back for them.

A court application to evict some #Hermanus residents already occupying prime land that is under negotiation for possible purchase for them by the govt was postponed today in #CapeTown. They're making their way back to their transport for 2 hour trip back. pic.twitter.com/JENITQLXLB

He said they were surprised by the eviction application.

The eviction application was brought by Cape Theme Parks and construction company Cavcor. The respondents were "those people illegally occupying Erf 11155, Overstrand Municipality", the Station Commander of Hermanus Police Station, the Minister of Police and the MEC for Human Settlements in the Western Cape.

The matter was heard before Acting Judge Ismail Jamie. At the last minute, he heard that the residents of Schulphoek had just appointed legal representation.

Their lawyer Ayanda Mdanjelwa, introduced herself and Jamie was given a timeline of when documents would be filed to oppose the eviction. 

Comment from the current property owners was not immediately available, but Ndzongana said outside the court that more than 4 000 people has settled on the land so far. There was some water and a few toilets, but no electricity.

Once outside, Ndzongana whipped the supporters up with calls to not be "voting cows". He called for unity among black and white people against "political gangsters" who only need them at election time, he said.

The application was postponed to June 18.

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