The City of Cape Town has reiterated that no evictions have been conducted at the site of a land invasion in Khayelitsha, as incorrectly stated in some media reports. The City also said that land invasions occurring in Empolweni, Khayelitsha, are jeopardizing an R162 million water pipeline for the informal settlement.
Empolweni made headlines after the controversial eviction of a naked man, Bulelani Qolani, from his shack in Khayelitsha last week by the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit. Mayor Dan Plato requested an independent investigation after the incident “to ensure the findings are above reproach, given the public interest in the matter”.
The City explained that in terms of the Western Cape High Court order, the City of Cape Town is permitted to remove any new illegally erected structures on the land in question. In line with the court order, five illegal structures were removed on 1 July 2020. The day prior, 30 June 2020, one illegal structure was removed.
“The Anti-Land Invasion Unit has been conducting near daily anti-land invasion operations at the site. Only 49 structures have been temporarily allowed to remain by the High Court. This is monitored on an ongoing basis. To date, no evictions have taken place on the site, only anti-land invasion operations,” said Mayco Member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi.
In April, the High Court permitted only 49 structures to temporarily remain on the land under strict conditions until the matter is heard in full.
Booi added: “Police Minister Bheki Cele promoted lawlessness with his publicity stunt on the site of a land invasion. This invasion undermines services and housing in Khayelitsha as a whole, because the land is on the direct path of an R162 million water pipeline.”
According to the City, the water supply pipeline would increase water pressure for about 11000 Enkanini residents, and provide assurance of supply to the whole of Khayelitsha.
Water and Waste mayco member Xanthea Limberg said the City had already installed 1.4km of the 6km pipeline from Faure to Khayelitsha, along Baden Powell Drive.
Limberg said more than R50m of the budget had already been spent, and they were on track for completion in 12 to 18 months.
“But anti-land invasion operations along the route are crucial to ensuring no further interruptions.”
The City’s Director: Informal Settlements, Riana Pretorious, said: “We can’t build houses without bulk services infrastructure.
“It will create major problems for all of Khayelitsha.”
This comes in light of the Water Institute of Southern Africa (Wisa) saying that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a recognition of the importance of access to water and sanitation for residents living in informal settlements in the country.
Technical Committee member for Wisa, Neil Macleod, said informal settlements in South Africa were most often unplanned and usually resulted when individuals or groups of people were able to act more quickly than those responsible for development control.
Macleod said water was being supplied by tanker-trucks and collected either directly by households who usually joined crowded queues in the road, or from plastic tanks that saw similar crowds when they were filled.
“These supplies often cost up to 20 times more than water from a piped network and rarely manage to deliver the minimum basic supply of 25 litres per person per day,” Macleod said.
He said the worst part was that the use of water tankers was often tainted by corruption and by acts of vandalism by the entrenched “tanker mafia” that existed in some informal settlements.
“Ironically, in many of the communities concerned, there is water supply infrastructure close by. But communities are either not connected or the supplies no longer work.”
He said key to the success of new approaches was the involvement of the people who would use the new systems.
“Without proper planning or replanning through a consultative process, with real community participation in decision-making and with agreed outcomes that will result in win-win solutions, the implementation of sustainable infrastructure solutions will prove to be virtually impossible.”
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