Three new suburbs names cleverly named “19”, “Covid” and “Virus” have popped up near the Barcelona informal settlement in Nyanga, located near the Cape Town International Airport. Residents of the settlements say they are social-distancing as per Government’s request and have no where else to go.

As reported by TimesLIVE, many people were seen using pieces of plastic and sticks to demarcate the sections of land they plan to build their new homes on along the N2 highway on Thursday, July 23.

“We want tourists from overseas to see our plight,” Nokwanele Notsingana, resident from 19 said. She was one of the many people demarcating pieces of land to build on.

“We are unemployed backyarders and we are unable to pay rent — the landlords are kicking us out. We have tried to sell fruit and other things, but no-one buys because we are all broke. Corona has wreaked havoc in our lives. There will be more than 1,000 people on this land by the end of the day.”

According to Notsingana, she has been on the housing waiting list since the 90s.  “Our children were born here and we now have grandchildren. I had nowhere else to go, so I came out and set up a home here,” she said. “We are assisting the government by moving out of the crammed backyards. This is social distancing.”

Land invasions have become more common in Cape Town, especially during the lockdown period. Some of these invasions turned into violent attacks on municipal infrastructure and vehicles.

According to City of Cape Town Mayco Member for Human Settlement Malusi Booi, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants during the pandemic, but this has been happening anyway.

“Actions to prevent the invasion of land or illegal occupation of housing projects are being met in some areas such as in Khayelitsha and Mfuleni with extreme violence and destruction of property and the breaking of community facilities,” he said.

“This is impacting on city projects, service delivery or community facilities in Mfuleni and Khayelitsha and in other areas including Wallacedene, Delft, Dunoon, Firgrove, Milnerton and Nyanga.”

Picture: City of Cape Town/Twitter

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