Our latest data reveals that since the second week of April 2021 to date, there have been no attempts at invasions of state land in any of the non-Metro areas, while the Metro has recorded 159 attempts.
These illegal activities are seeing a drastic reduction, as attempts in April 2021 stood at 83, while in May 2021 it was 40 and June 2021, 27. Between July 2020, when numerous unlawful land invasions commenced, to the end of the first week of July 2021, there had been 1 239 attempted land invasions of state-owned land.
This reduction in land invasions is due to proactive steps being taken and to ensure vigilance. This also shows that our efforts to prevent these invasions and secure provincially owned land and properties are starting to bear fruit.
We do however remain deeply concerned that we had to spend R 400 million in the last financial year to protect our land and properties. Since the beginning of the current financial year, which commenced on 1 April 2021, we’ve already spent over R 40 million.
Combining both amounts and excluding bulk services, more than 2 440 Breaking New Ground (BNG)/free housing units could’ve been built.
We continue to condemn these unlawful invasions, as they hurt the poor the most, and severely impact our ability to deliver housing opportunities to already identified, deserving, qualifying and potential beneficiaries that have patiently and legally been waiting on the Housing Demand Database (HDD).
Within the rule of law and with the limited resources at our disposal we will continue to do whatever we can to prevent unlawful invasions of land earmarked or fit for human settlements.
This is why we’re also in court, seeking to ensure that the legal remedy of counter-spoliation, which recognises an owner's right to immediately retake possession of unlawfully seized property, without first having to approach a court remains part of our common law.
I would like to urge landowners, both public and private, to ensure that their land and other properties are fully protected against invasion attempts, and that criminal cases are opened against those who are encouraging, leading and participating in these unlawful activities. It is important that the criminal element behind these invasions face the full might of the law.
National Government, particularly the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) who is the custodian of all nationally owned land, should also heed this call. If it is does not, it jeopardises losing land available for future service delivery.
The Western Cape Government remains committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.