BACKYARD residents of Mandela Park in Khayelitsha say they will sue the Western Cape government after it allegedly destroyed 26 houses and shacks last Friday.
Feb 9, 2011 | Unathi Obose | Sowetan
Human settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela personally accompanied the police and anti-land invasions unit to demolish the houses and shacks.
The residents had built the houses and shacks on land they invaded earlier. Their leader, Khaya Xintolo, said they had been on the waiting list for houses for 15 years.
“By occupying these empty plots we were trying to resolve the housing backlog. We plan to take this matter to court,” Xintolo said.
Madikizela left three complete houses standing but gave the owners 12 hours to demolish them, and then painted a large “X” on each house, added Xintolo.
“Many of the homes were occupied, so the evictions without a court order are in contravention of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act. That makes Madikizela’s actions criminal,” said resident Loyiso Mfuku.
In another twist, local DA chairperson Mxolisi Molly allegedly fired shots at two backyarders. He was arrested and detained at Harare police station in Khayelitsha, where he was charged with attempted murder.
But the charge was allegedly later changed to common assault. Molly was released on warning and will appear in court on Monday.
When Mfuku and three other backyarders went to ask why the charges against Molly had been downgraded, they were arrested and only released on Sunday morning after being charged with common assault.
“In Mandela Park, there is no separation of politics and governance. The DA and ANC interfere in the development process in order to support their own members and political agendas,” Mfuku said.
But Zalisile Mbali, Madikizela’s spokesperson, said the MEC had not interfered with the case against Molly.
Madikizela told Sowetan he was not obliged to inform the group that he was coming to demolish their dwellings.
“How can you consult someone who is stealing your land? These people invaded government land. How do they expect me to consult them?” he asked.
“If they build other houses, we will demolish them again. We won’t allow anarchy here.”
But unhappy residents said their houses had cost them a lot of money and claimed the land they built on had stood empty for more than six years without any development.