Cape Town – The City of Cape Town is alleging shack builders for profit are fuelling illegal land invasions in the metro.
This emerged during a standing committee meeting on Human Settlements on Wednesday.
Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, said: “In terms of the organised nature of the land invasions, we have seen evidence of people selling plots, we have seen evidence of landlords clearly profiteering from structures and people telling our anti-land-invasion unit that they paid R1 500 for these structures.”
Smith said the failure to stop land invasions strips communities of amenities and future development.
“Every land invasion comes with consequences. It means that they (land invaders) are condemning everyone who lives there in the section of unauthorised land and land occupation for a very protracted period of low quality life,” he said.
Presentations were received from the provincial departments responsible for human settlements and community safety, the police and City. It was revealed that more than 3 000 housing opportunities had been lost in the Cape Metro.
The Department of Human Settlements told the standing committee the impact on the number of housing opportunities and infrastructure projects due to land invasions costs ran up to R187 million.
The DA’s provincial legislature spokesperson for community safety Reagen Allen said: “There has been an increase in illegal land invasions since the start of July, reaching a peak of 147 invasion in the Metro during September, by which time 115 protests were recorded.
“The lack of Public Order Policing service units, followed by no proper investigations into syndicates and ringleaders, perpetuates the concern around illegal land invasions and the loss of land for social housing opportunities, but also threatens the safety of residents and responders involved.”
Mayco member for Human Settlements, Malusi Booi, said the City was outstripped by the result of natural growth and urbanisation.
“The budget which we receive from the national government does not meet or match the demand. We have a backlog of more than 300 000 people waiting for houses. But the grant funding we receive allows us to only yield 2 000 housing opportunities. This situation is created by the impact of Covid-19,” said Booi.
Standing committee chairperson Matlhodi Maseko said: “Thousands of housing opportunities worth millions of rand have been lost to land invasions. This deprives communities of real development and services. Now people who were supposed to enjoy the opportunity to finally own their own home after years of waiting have to live alongside those who stole this opportunity from them.”