Protesters blocking major Cape Town road want to extend their shacks
Residents say large families are cramped into small shacks at Zamimpilo informal settlement in Khayelitsha. But the City says they are unlawfully occupying land that is earmarked for development.
- Protesters shut down Baden Powell Drive on Wednesday night, demanding that the City of Cape Town allow them to extend their shacks.
- They also torched three structures used by security hired by the City to monitor and stop further occupations or shack extensions.
- The City official says the land is occupied unlawfully and it is earmarked for development.
Protesters shut down the busy Baden Powell Drive on Wednesday night, demanding that the City of Cape Town allow them to extend their shacks nearby.
This comes after a group from Zamimpilo informal settlement in Khayelitsha torched three structures on the land used by security guards hired by the City to monitor and stop further occupations or shack extensions.
Residents say their attempts to engage the City on this issue have been fruitless.
When GroundUp arrived by 7pm, the security guards were standing between the shacks, visibly afraid for their lives. Protesters warned guards to leave the area. Those that lived in the same settlement ran away.
Zamimpilo is situated near Monwabisi Beach. It was one of several informal settlements formed in 2020 during the hard lockdown. Most of the 1,300 households were backyarders in Kuyasa and Harare who say they could no longer afford to pay rent. There are no toilets, so people relieve themselves in nearby bushes. They rely on illegal electricity connections and one standpipe they installed themselves.
Resident Mthobisi Hleza shares a one-room shack with his wife, four children, his sister and niece. He lost his job during the pandemic.
He said when he built a room for his children, it was destroyed by the City’s Anti Land-Invasion Unit. “My sister, niece and two daughters share a mattress. They sleep on the floor and their legs have to go under the bed.”
Community leader Ncedo Pehana said, “Our shacks are small and some have leaks. We are not asking them to allow us to occupy the land but to allow us to extend the shacks we have.”
He said residents marched to Subcouncil 10 offices in Khayelitsha last week and discussed the matter with chairperson Xolani Sotashe.
Sotashe said the residents’ request was sent to Informal Settlements Upgrade project manager, Diaan Rangolie. In an emailed response, Rangolie said the land was earmarked for the Nkanini South Greenfields development and that further occupation would “seriously jeopardise” the project.
Rangolie said the project is expected to create about 10,500 service sites with formal infrastructure.
Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said the land was unlawfully occupied despite the City’s efforts to prevent it. “This shows that the unlawful occupation in this area is a real threat based on what has happened already and that prevention is a necessity,” he said.
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