June 01, 2009 Edition 1
NOMANGESI MBIZA Source: Cape Argus
Metro Police officials have torn down shacks of backyard dwellers living on city-owned land in Macassar Village in Strand despite a court interdict ordering them not to do so.
Residents allege that Metro Police officials destroyed their shacks on Saturday morning for the third time, despite being told about the court interdict issued in the Cape High Court on Friday evening.
“We told them about the court interdict and even gave it to them but they refused to even have a look at it,” said resident Thembile Komani.
The court interdict, which is in possession of the Cape Argus, states that the City of Cape Town is not entitled to de-molish, or authorise or instruct any person to demolish the structures of the occupiers of the land on New Road in Macassar Village.But city spokesman Charles Cooper denied that the city had acted illegally and said they had demolished four new structures that were in the process of being erected.
“The interdict relates to existing structures and the city will continue to remove any new structures.
“The city is not contravening anything,” he said.
The residents, who said they have now become “one family”, claimed they had decided to occupy the piece of land because they could not afford to pay rent anymore and some of them had been kicked out by their landlords.
Andiswa Kolanisi, who has been a backyard dweller for five years, said they could not afford to pay rent as they worked only seasonally on nearby farms.
“I was kicked out by my landlady and had nowhere else to go… she said she was going to extend her house and had no space for me,” she said.
“If it is not grape-picking season, we don’t work. (Landlords) are now taking in people who have money to pay rent in their yards,” said Kolanisi.
Three Metro Police cars have been guarding the area since Saturday.
The group was set to apply for another urgent interdict against the City of Cape Town manager this morning.