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Some citizens taking advantage of lockdown to invade land - Dept

The Human Settlements Department’s spokesperson Yonela Diko said that authorities needed to be aware of what they could and could not do in the event of land invasions.

People illegally set up dwellings on vacant land in Cape Town. Picture: @MalusiBooi/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation on Tuesday said that some people were taking advantage of lockdown regulations to illegally move onto pieces of land.

Under the current lockdown regulations, no evictions or invasions of land may take place.

The City of Cape Town said that there had been over a dozen land invasion attempts over the past several weeks. The municipality has come under fire in some instances for carrying out evictions.

Earlier this month, law enforcement officers moved in to tear down shacks that had been illegally built on municipal land in Khayelitsha. But that led to a major debacle when a video surfaced of a resident allegedly being forced from his shack while he was still naked.

In a statement on Tuesday, said that the pieces of land being invaded were earmarked for government projects. These included providing housing for qualifying beneficiaries who had been on the waiting lists for a long time and who were patiently waiting for their turn.

Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu expressed concern at land invasions that had taken place in the City of Cape Town.

“Taking away this land deprives the poorest of the poor their right to decent accommodation. We, therefore, call on law enforcement agencies to act decisively to halt the land invasions in the City of Cape Town and anywhere else where these may occur,” Sisulu said.

The department’s spokesperson Yonela Diko said that authorities needed to be aware of what they could and could not do in the event of land invasions.

“The minister believes that those who invade land should swiftly be dealt with and removed to prevent anarchy from spreading to other municipalities,” Diko said.

“Sisulu is also concerned that land invaders put themselves at a greater risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. The pieces of land that are invaded do not have basic services such as water and sanitation. These services are absolutely essential in curbing the spread of the pandemic.”

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