'WC housing crisis is a ticking time bomb'

A law organisation warns that more trouble looms if housing issues are not dealt with efficiently.

Residents of an informal settlement in Strand have been forcibly removed from their homes in the Lwandle informal settlement. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The National Association of Democratic Lawyers has labelled the Western Cape housing crisis a ticking time bomb.

The organisation was one of the groups which have submitted recommendations to the Lwandle Inquiry, probing the controversial eviction of a Cape Town community.

Hundreds of people were forcibly removed off private land owned by the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) in Nomzamo in the Lwandle area in early June.

Sanral, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government have all deflected the blame for the violent evictions.

They were moved back onto the property following a national outcry.

The organisation has warned that more trouble looms if housing issues are not dealt with efficiently.

It has criticised authorities of its "apartheid style removal of the Nomzamo community" and has recommended government develop official guidelines in dealing with mass removal.

The South African Human Rights Commission has also suggested that the evictees must be treated with dignity and respect when authorities carry out lawful removals.

Meanwhile, there are still hundreds of people left at the Nomzamo Community Hall which was meant to be a temporary shelter when dozens of families were evicted off privately-owned land in June.

While some evictees have been moved to new homes, over 300 people are still waiting at the hall.

This emerged on Wednesday during the inquiry.

The roads agency maintains it had obtained a High Court order for the removals as the residents were occupying privately-owned land earmarked for a project involving the N2 highway.

This prompted Human Settlements Minster Lindiwe Sisulu to set up the inquiry to probe the process of the forced removals. The hearings started in July.