Govt and City refuses to submit oral evidence

Officials say they have provided the Nomzamo hearing with documents instead.

FILE: Public hearings into the forced removal of Nomzamo informal settlers are underway. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Both the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town on Tuesday refused to submit oral evidence during the Nomzamo inquiry.

Public hearings into forced evictions started on Monday.

The hearing was set up by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu after hundreds of people were forcibly removed from land owned by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) in June.

The roads agency had obtained a high court interdict for the removals.

Sanral says the residents were squatting on the land illegally.

Authorities tried to relocate some of the evicted families to open land in Blackheath and Macassar, but the move was slammed by outraged residents.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says while the provincial government and municipality won't submit oral evidence, they have provided the committee with documents.

She says she believes there is no legal basis for the commission.

Zille adds there should have been proper consultation with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to discuss eviction issues.

The premier added it was of great concern that the Western Cape government was only given one working day to prepare a submission.

Eyewitness Tim Flack on Tuesday told the hearing South African Police Service (SAPS) officials played a significant role in clearing the evictees from the land.

He said it was heartbreaking seeing dozens of people being "moved like sheep" from the place they called home.

"I thought it was pretty much unacceptable for people to be evicted in such a way, just before the coldest part of winter."