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CoCT to continue to monitor Empolweni for land invasions

The community won a reprieve against removal in court last week after the city twice dismantled their shacks.

Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu handed out sponsored food parcels to some residents eMpolweni informal settlement in the Western Cape. Picture: Jarita Kassen/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town (CoCT) on Sunday said officials would be keeping a close eye on Empolweni as more people attempted to build structures on the land.

The community won a reprieve against removal in court last week after the city twice dismantled their shacks.

The court found the community should return to the area until the lockdown is lifted, at which point they could petition the court again if they wanted to make an argument that they should be allowed to occupy the area permanently.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation set up tents for the community as they were sleeping outside for the past week.

The Western Cape High Court gave the City of Cape Town until Monday to return building materials it removed when it dismantled the shacks.

The order allowed 49 structures to be re-erected on the city-owned land. But before the removals began, there were more than 150 structures in the area.

One community member occupied one of the structures not covered by the court order.

“It's a little bit painful. We're still going to spend a few days outside and we don't know... there's no way forward...”

When Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the community on Sunday she reminded residents that land invasion remained unlawful during the lockdown.

“If we find that the people who were here who had come from other places need land, we will negotiate that but right now we are preparing land for 49 families,” she said.

Shortly after Sisulu left, metro police returned to the area as community members started blocking off areas where they wanted to build their homes.