DA in WC says illegal land occupations are 'life-threatening'

The DA's Matlhodi Maseko said informal settlements constructed on unsafe land increasingly came under the spotlight due to the risk of flooding and mudslides during winter.

FILE: The Joe Slovo informal settlement. Picture: City of Cape Town.

CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Western Cape Human Settlements spokesperson, Matlhodi Maseko, called for a briefing on plans to deal with illegal land occupations in the province.

Maseko said informal settlements constructed on unsafe land were becoming increasingly dangerous due to risk of flooding and mudslides during winter.

“Building on land that hasn’t been approved for settlement could hold life-threatening consequences. I have invited the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements to brief the provincial legislature on active plans to deal with land invasions across the province and the support they give to municipalities in this regard.”

According to Maseko, during the COVID-19 lockdown, an informal settlement in the Driftsands Nature Reserve rapidly grew to around 80,000 occupants.

She said that the community was now at risk of serious flooding, the destruction of their homes, and even loss of life, while the ecological damage to the reserve was said to be irreversible.

According to a Daily Maverick report in 2021, homelessness cost residents of Cape Town R740 million in 2019 where it was shown that "reactive measures [emergency measures] accounted for 45% (R335. 3 million) of that cost".

Criminal justice costs amounted to almost R287 million of that amount.