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Anger over City of Cape Town 'unlawful' eviction of Delft families and shack demolition

One of the shacks that were demolished by law enforcement officers in Delft. Picture: Supplied

One of the shacks that were demolished by law enforcement officers in Delft. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 28, 2022

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Cape Town - Ndifuna Ukwazi and the Legal Resources Centre have denounced the City’s “unlawful” behaviour following the eviction of nine families and the demolition of their shacks at Phola Park informal settlement in Delft on Wednesday.

Community leader Nobuhle Selani said when the law enforcement officials came in the morning the majority of the shack owners were at work. She said they also confiscated building materials from a shack owner who had been affected by a fire recently.

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“As opposed to what the law enforcement officials say – that they only demolish structures that are not occupied – the fact of the matter is all the structures that they destroyed have owners and were occupied.

“We arrived here in August 2020 and they have been coming here consistently destroying unoccupied shacks. This time when we engaged them, (but) they became violent and there were shots fired,” she said.

Ndifuna Ukwazi head of political organising, Buhle Booi, said the operation conducted in Delft was unlawful as the law enforcement officers didn’t have an order of the court authorising them to demolish people’s homes.

He said this was carried out in spite of the case that was argued on August 26, 2020, in the Western Cape High Court by the South African Human Rights Commission against the City.

“The court granted an interdict that prohibited evictions and demolition of structures during the National State of Disaster without an order of the court. The effect of this unlawful operation has resulted in the homelessness of a child-headed household.

At the time of this illegal conduct, the two young boys were at school only to come back without a home not knowing where they were going to sleep. We are disgusted by this illegal action by the City that continues to victimise poor people while purporting to be caring for all in Cape Town,” he said.

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The Legal Resource Centre, which wrote a letter to the City’s legal representatives, said it must immediately cease all its evictions and demolition operations carried out without a court order.

It demanded that the City return all confiscated materials to the owners within two days.

The City said it removed illegally erected, incomplete and unoccupied structures on its land during daily operations, which were currently being carried out in all areas across the metro.

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It said it acted to prevent the unlawful occupation of land where possible and acted in terms of the court order.

“The officials called on law enforcement and EPWP workers for support,” it said.

The City called on the affected individuals to collect their building materials once they have made an appointment.

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Individuals may contact the anti-land invasion unit’s office during office hours to make their appointments, the City said.

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Cape Argus

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