Together let’s prevent land invasions
Today, I make a concerted appeal to all citizens of the Western Cape, to ensure that no land invasions attempts are allowed to occur across this Province.
This activity hampers progress at the various construction sites where the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDoHS) is attempting to radically improve and change the living conditions of the many law-abiding citizens that are waiting patiently on a housing opportunity.
As we embark on the holiday season, the construction sector, along with many others are taking a well-deserved break for the next few weeks. Regrettably, those with criminal intent regard this as an opportunity to either invade land or our units that are currently under construction.
In fact, a closer look at this criminal activity, shows us that since July 2020, there’s been 1 639 land invasion attempts on our properties throughout the province. For the current 21/22 financial year, we’ve already spent R 97, 23 million on securing our properties and preventing these invasions.
Effectively, this means and excluding the bulk services that 585 Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing opportunities have been lost. We must stand together and discourage all forms of invasions, as it is those law abiding citizens, who are affected the most, as they have to wait so much longer. This is especially true for our elderly (60 years and older), those living with medically certified disabilities, those that have been on the Housing Demand Database (HDD) for 15 years and longer and our backyard dwellers.
The recent invasion attempts at our Forest Village Development in Eersteriver saw 104 units vandalized. Amongst others, doors, handles and windows are some of the items that would have to be replaced. The damage incurred is in excess of R 588 000.00. Those who were due to move in early in the new year, will now have to wait so much longer to live in a safer and improved environment.
To date, 3065 beneficiaries have been afforded an opportunity in the Forest Village Development, with the majority 1813 being from local Wards 16,17, 108 & 114.
It is important to point out that when land that is earmarked for housing development is invaded, the estimated delays due to the hampering of the process to deliver housing opportunities can range from a period of 3 months to 5 years or even longer in extreme instances. This is due to more often than not, that these invasion are followed by protracted court proceedings and processes that the department gets drawn into. That of course then has financial implications on what is an already strained budget committed to creating housing opportunity and restoring the dignity of residents.
We would like to urge the public to reject all those who are planning, attempting and or participating in this thuggery. Furthermore to report any and those who are involved to the law enforcement agencies, so that they can face the full might of the law.
As a precaution the WCDoHS has appointed tactical teams moving from site to site and also increased visibility. We trust that there will be no need for any of these teams to become active during the current holiday period or anywhere in the future.
We would like to take this opportunity and thank these residents that have been forthcoming in reporting those that have in the past attempted these illegality.
We know that with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, which includes the different spheres of government, law enforcement, and particularly our civil society and communities at large, we can prevent any of these attempts.