Arrest leaders of land invasions
JOINT STATEMENT BY TERTUIS SIMMERS
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, ALBERT FRITZ
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF COMMUNITY SAFETY &
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING
ARREST LEADERS OF LAND INVASIONS
3 August 2020
The South African Police Services (SAPS), with the assistance of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and all relevant Law Enforcement Agencies should immediately arrest all those who are leading the illegal land grabs that we’re currently seeing across the Western Cape.
Minister Simmers said: “It has become clear that those who are complicit and involved in these illegal events only have criminal intentions. This past weekend’s illegal invasion and subsequent damage caused at the Kraaifontein racing track is an example of this.
Between April and July this year, the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement had to respond to 260 incidents of illegal land invasions.
I’ve already engaged my cabinet colleagues, particularly the Ministers of Community Safety and Local Government, Albert Fritz and Anton Bredell, respectively, about what is currently plaguing the province, and more so the City of Cape Town.
We’ll have further discussions this week with the rest of the cabinet and the City of Cape Town, as it is critical that measures be found that will assist to swiftly address these issues.
In the meanwhile, SAPS must demonstrate to this province’s citizens that they will not allow these illegal acts to continue. They have a duty and more so now under the current regulations to uphold and enforce the laws of the country.
I trust our courts will take swift action against those charged. Our Courts are critical in this pipeline, as there’s an unfortunate perception that those involved in these illegal land grabs and destruction of property tends to only get a slap on the wrist, after appearing in Court.”
Minister Fritz said, “The Department of Community Safety will provide the necessary facilitation and coordination between SAPS in the Western Cape and the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement and Metro Police to address the spate of land invasions taking place in the province. The land invasions taking placing are highly coordinated and sophisticated in their execution, having already occupied large plots of land in areas such as Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Khayelitsha. In many cases the land being occupied is already designated for services aimed at developing the communities and therefore undermines the community in which it takes place.”
Minister Fritz continued, “I condemn the violent protest action surrounding many of the land invasions in the strongest terms. It is completely unacceptable that infrastructure such as roads and arterials are being damaged by tire burning and that the safety and wellbeing of residents is further being infringed on by the stone throwing, petrol bombs and other violent and dangerous behaviour. Tomorrow, I will be meeting with National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole on the spate of land invasion and violent protest action in the Western Cape.”
Minister Anton Bredell said: “Various municipal areas across the province, in particular the City of Cape Town, are currently under huge strain from repeated attempts to invade land earmarked for housing projects, community basic services, nature conservation land or play parks for communities. This is impacting ongoing projects, service delivery and existing community facilities to the detriment of the existing communities.
In the City of Cape Town alone, more than R1,3 billion of housing projects are currently under threat from land invasions. Law enforcement actions to prevent the illegal occupations have been met in some areas with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking down of community facilities.
Our communities deserve to be protected and these illegal actions cannot be tolerated. The rule of law needs to be respected and enforced and the South African Police Services must step up and apply the law to serve their communities.”
Simmers added: “I urge all communities to also take a stand against these lawless activities and assist the law enforcement agencies by reporting all those and particularly the leaders who are involved in these incidents.
As the Western Cape Government, we remain 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.”