City blamed for Nomzamo evictions

Ward councillor Mbuyiselo Matha testified at the Nomzamo Commission of Inquiry earlier on Monday.

FILE: Children in Nomzamo search through rubble trying to source material to rebuild their homes. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Nomzamo ward councillor Mbuyiselo Matha on Monday placed the blame for the forced evictions of hundreds of residents from the area in June on the City of Cape Town.

Matha was speaking during the Nomzamo Commission of inquiry which is probing the forced evictions of Nomzamo residents from their homes more than a month ago.

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) had obtained a High Court interdict for the removal of the residents as they were squatting on the land illegally.

The evictions took place in the middle of a cold front in the Western Cape and triggered a public outcry.

The inquiry was initiated by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Matha said government officials previously visited the area several times making housing promises.

He said people grew tired of waiting for the houses and decided to invade the land illegally and against his wishes.

The ward councillor said he was provided with four security guards because the community blamed him when the illegal settlers were first removed from the property in early February.

EVIDENCE SUBMITTED

The Access to Justice Association of Southern Africa (AJASA) has submitted evidence related to the injuries sustained by some informal settlers.

The association's Sheena Jonker claims a heavily pregnant woman was beaten by police and another expecting mother even miscarried.

She says one of the women was kicked by officers as she was forced from her shack.

The commission's Annelize van Wyk queried why these attacks were reported to The Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The commission also questioned the controversial Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement's Loyiso Nkohla about its figures.

It appears there's still no clarity on exactly how many people were evicted from the land.

Nkohla maintains more than 800 informal dwellings were torn down.

The hearings were briefly interrupted when two Democratic Alliance (DA) members were told to leave after disrupting proceedings.

Nkohla often referred to DA leader Helen Zille as racist during his testimony.