Cape Town Mayor, Patricia De Lille, has appealed to communities affected by the dire need for housing not to occupy land illegally or take matters into their own hands.
The Mother City has seen a huge spike in land invasions due to the desperate need for housing around township areas like Samora Machel, Khayelitsha and Phillipi. Western Cape Human Settlements Department revealed that over 500,000 families are registered on the province’s housing demand database.
Since January, the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit has removed 26 000 illegal structures and this number continues to grow as protesters erect illegal structures across the province in an attempt to cope with the need for land.
De Lille said to EWN, “While people are waiting for housing opportunities, the least that we could do was to give them services. Then for this year, up until 2021, the city has budgeted more than R850-million just for upgrades to informal settlements.”
This past week, more than 150 people were found marking their plots in Samora Machel. In Khayelitsha, over 100 residents are preparing to build shacks on a piece of vacant land. At the same time, frustrated residents in Mitchells Plain and Lwandle have taken to the streets, burning tyres to protest for better housing and services.
“We had a 145 protests and land invasions in the first four months of this year. And that is 73% increase compared to the same time last year. Most of these protests centred around housing and land,” De Lille said.
With unrest over housing continuing in the Mother City, the mayor plan to meet with residents in need and provide all the services possible. Members of the community are urged to report illegal land invasions to the city.