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Khayelitsha Human Settlements Forum revived following land invasions

The Khayelitsha Human Settlements Forum said that its job was to respond to the current illegal land invasions taking place over grievances around housing demands and other social issues facing Khayelitsha residents.

Informal dwellings put up in Khayelitsha. Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The Khayelitsha Human Settlements Forum has been revived following a spate of land invasions in the community.

It includes a team of 11 people from the area that work with residents and all three spheres of government around issues of land and housing.

The Khayelitsha Human Settlements Forum said that its job was to respond to the current illegal land invasions taking place over grievances around housing demands and other social issues facing Khayelitsha residents.

The forum's Manelisi Mampana said that the City of Cape Town had been slow to execute development projects which aggravated anxiety and panic among legal beneficiaries who've waited patiently for years for their houses to be built.

He said that people had illegally occupied unsuitable plots of land due to these frustrations.

“This is not a solution, but rather a rapid disaster waiting to happen.”

Mampana said the recent spate of land grabs and protests have made sticking to COVID-19 regulations difficult as they encouraged people to gather in masses without personal protective equipment.

There had also been violent protests and illegal land invasions in other areas like Bloekombos in Kraaifontein, Mfuleni and Gugulethu.

Mayco member for Human Settlements Malusi Booi said that it was not true that new developments were not happening in these areas.

“Let me say this upfront, the acts we are seeing in Kraaifontein and other areas where people are attempting land invasions are acts that are not acceptable. We condemn it.”

However, he admitted that COVID-19 had led to project delays.

“The development for social housing in that area saw millions being invested. We have a project called Marula project which is adjacent land with more than 2,000 units. But because of the pandemic, we had to stop construction.

Booi said that they believed that there was more to the protests than demands for land and housing.

“From the intelligence report from State Security, it is indicated that this is an act of criminality and then it’s an issue that relates to local government elections next year. People are mobilising groups because housing is a strong contest issue.”

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