Attempted Land Occupation in Makhaza

Makhaza backyarders invade plot

April 26 2011 at 12:00pm


Staff Reporter

HUNDREDS of Makhaza backyarders invaded a vacant piece of land, marked out plots and started erecting shacks until police intervened and stopped them from continuing.

Backyarder Mzukisi Mbipa said they started erecting their structures on the land early yesterday morning.

“We are tired of not having land. There were other people from another area that were allowed to build there, so we decided to join them,” said Mbipa .

Harare police spokeswoman Constable Nosiphiwo Mtengwane said the police were called to stop the building as it was illegal.

“We decided to sit down with them and negotiate and told them they must follow procedure if they wanted housing,” said Mtengwane.

She said the backyarders agreed to stop building.

“They will meet with a housing representative today and see what they can do going forward,” said Mtengwane.

Makhaza stand-off
26-Apr-2011 | Elvis ka Nyelenzi
IT was a tense Easter Monday for one Cape Town community when police clashed with residents trying to build new shacks

Three vans full of South African Police Service officers and several car-loads of metro police and the city’s anti-land invasion officers faced-off against about 200 residents from Makhaza, Khayelitsha, yesterday.

The residents had earlier taken over a vacant piece of land and demarcated plots, saying the shacks and backyards where they lived were too full.

Makhaza shot to prominence last year when its residents, and the ANC Youth League protested against the “open air” toilets erected for residents by the City of Cape Town without walls.

“We need to build shacks here but the law enforcement people are taking us out. Why are they doing this? Our children are dying here in these overcrowded conditions,” an irate Masixole Kegama said.

Another resident, Mkhusela Baartman, said many people had recently lost their jobs and could no longer afford to rent rooms.

“We really don’t know what to do or where to go. We are residents of Makhaza and we need a place to stay,” Baartman said.

Anti-land invasion unit officer Piet van Wyk said: “We are here to protect the city’s land. People have invaded illegally. We don’t need a court order to remove their pegs.”

By late yesterday, the police, city officials and representatives of the people were locked in a meeting. But other residents said they would erect their shacks at night.

Residents vow to defy orders
29-Apr-2011 | Elvis ka Nyelenzi

About 200 people demarcated plots for themselves on an empty piece of land last Monday. But SAPS officers and other city law enforcement officials quickly removed the pegs.

On Freedom Day the group built four shacks but these were razed the same day.

When Sowetan visited the scene yesterday, about 250 angry residents had started rebuilding.

“We will build them again and again. We need as many new shacks as possible because there are many of us here. We need this place,” Nosiphiwo Shandu said.

Another resident, Akhona Ndabankulu, said: “I do not understand why my family has to crowd like sardines into one shack while the land nearby has never been used for anything useful.”

City manager of informal settlements Mzwandile Sokupa could not be reached for comment.

Mayoral committee councillor in charge of housing, Shehaam Sims, was in a council meeting and could also not be reached for comment.

Apr 29 2011 2:41PM
Hall torched in housing protest

Mandla Mnayakama

A land invasion protest turned violent after a community hall was burnt in Makhaza in Khayelitsha on Wednesday night.

The incident occurred shortly after the land invasion unit and the police destroyed seven shacks erected at a nearby piece of land.

On Monday afternoon a group backyard dwellers who are mostly young people from the nearby homes, erected shacks in an open land between Ncedo and Galela Street.

They demanded that the authorities allow them to build their homes to ease overcrowding in their extended family homes.

Zusakhe Rhoji, 28, said they decided to build homes in the vacant area as there were risks to them because of muggings and rapes. The demolishing of shacks sparked an angry protest. A furniture company vehicle, dropping off staff, was also looted.

Another private company vehicle was also torched on the same day.

On Tuesday angry land invaders also erected other shack structures, but the unit and the cops also destroyed these.

On Wednesday morning the group barricaded Ncedo Street, Dibana and Walter Sisulu Road with burning tyres and shipping containers.

They later erected other new shacks but these were also destroyed by the authorities.

One of the seven shacks was completed with a bed inside when the police and the unit arrived and got busy.

Confrontation broke out between the police and the group of more than 40 protesters who attempted to prevent the demolition of the structures.

The unit’s demolition personnel dodged stones that were hurled at them from the back of the nearby private homes.

“Please destroy it or you better kill me,” shouted a man in his late 20s as he surged forward pleading with the police.

“No, I am not trying to fight, I’m just defending my building material from being destroyed,”

he shouted with stretched arms and open hands while watching his newly built one-roomed shack being dismantled.

“Come on shoot and kill us all because we are not committing crime here, we are just trying to settle because we do not have shelter. These are our rights and we will continue to fight for them,” screamed one woman.

Just before 8pm protesting youngsters torched the Desmond Tutu Community Hall after they threw missiles and burning tyres at the facility.

They also broke the front windows with stones.

The attack also damaged some businesses accommodated in the hall such as the Ikamva Youth Development Centre which offers after school computer training in Maths and Science.

It also damaged the Zimele Pre-School, the offices of the DA, City of Cape Town and SASSA Pension Pay Out office based in the hall.

Const Nosiphiwo Mtengwane, a spokesperson for the Harare police station said no arrests had been made.

Mtengwane appealed to residents to control their emotions and also use the proper procedure in order to get their problems attended to by the authorities.

“People must stop damaging private property,” she said.