Saldanha Bay Municipality’s response to the Witteklip Community Committee

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Media Release, News

The Saldanha Bay Municipality herewith wants to clarify and inform the community around the protest action due to the eviction of illegal land invaders. The Municipality wants to emphasise that illegal land invasion and land grabbing cannot be tolerated as it infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens, creates disorder and is against the law. The Municipality however understands the plight of the poor, but wants to emphasise that approved processes must be followed to systematically and sustainably address this problem that is currently experienced in all our wards, and in fact in all South Africa.

Background information:

On 2 April 2021, persons were found erecting illegal structures on Portion 10 of Erf 132 in Witteklip, Vredenburg. This land was originally set out for the development of 1 155 erven and possible top structures.

Saldanha Bay Municipality’s law enforcement department managed to remove six of the 12 illegal land invaders. On 3 April 2021, four additional illegal structures were erected, totalling ten land invaders who refused to move.

A court interdict was obtained from the Cape Town High Court to stop further invasion, giving Saldanha Bay Municipality and the South African Police Services (SAPS) the right to remove any further structures on the property. In addition, the Municipality also approached the High Court for an eviction order to remove the ten illegal land invaders. Following the successful application, an order was given on 13 July 2021 that instructed invaders to remove their structures and vacate the property by 31 July 2021. Failure to do so would have resulted in the Sheriff and law enforcement agencies removing persons and structures from the property on 7 August 2021.

This eviction order to remove the ten (10) structures was executed by 11 August 2021 and provided for the eviction of all other persons occupying the property.

The Municipal Manager met with various representatives of the illegal occupants and the main reasons given was that, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people were evicted from their backyard dwelling.

Public protests that included the burning of tyres, stoning and the burning of a vehicle occurred during this time. The representatives of the evicted persons claimed that this was not their doing as they were looking for a peaceful solution and condemned the violence incited. The SAPS is currently investigating these occurrences. The Municipality intends to pursue criminal charges against those who incited the violence.

Memorandum:

On 8 September 2021, Witteklip community members marched to the Saldanha Bay Municipal building in Vredenburg in support and handed over a memorandum to the Municipal Manager, containing the following points:

  • Request for alternative accommodation for the evicted persons;
  • Reimbursement of all confiscated and damaged material and other personal belongings; and
  • Expediting the allocation of 300 serviced sites with communal services.

The group was subsequently informed by the Municipal Manager that an official response by Saldanha Bay Municipality will be given in seven working days. A petition committee meeting was held to consider the content of the memorandum that was handed to the Municipality.

Saldanha Bay Municipality’s response to the Witteklip Community Committee is as follows:

  1. Request for alternative accommodation for the evicted persons

Response:

o     The only housing activity currently approved is the Witteklip development 1st Phase (197).

o     No circumventing of the housing database queue is allowed.

o     The occupants of the ten illegal structures will be allowed to stay with friends and family or landlords as backyard dwellers.

o     A donor came forward that will financially assist each of the ten (10) evicted illegal structure occupants, as per the eviction order, with R500 per month for six months towards their rent. Saldanha Bay Municipality will facilitate this process.

Although Saldanha Bay Municipality is sympathetic towards the plight of the ten families affected, it is important to note the Municipality is unable to fund these activities due to legislative constraints. All spending without approval from the Department of Human Settlements is considered as irregular and unauthorised expenditure and will be subject to interrogation and repayment.

  1. Reimbursement of all confiscated and damaged material and other personal belongings

Response:

o     The owners of the ten informal structures to identify their confiscated and/or damaged material at the municipal store.

o     Saldanha Bay Municipality will assist with the transportation of the material.

o     A donor is making funds available to assist with some building material.

  1. Expediting the allocation of 300 serviced sites with communal services.

Response:

o     The Department of Human Settlements was requested to assist in the fast tracking of this development.

o     The waiting list and conditions prescribed by the Department of Human Settlements must however be adhered to.

Saldanha Bay Municipality will not tolerate any land invasions within its jurisdiction. Our plea to the community is to respect the rule of law and the processes prescribed.

Housing remains a National and Provincial government mandate. The Municipality performs an agency function for the Western Cape Government’s Department of Human Settlements. The Saldanha Bay Municipality will always endeavour to assist our inhabitants but must do so within the confines of the laws that regulates the municipal sphere.

— ENDS —

    SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY ENABLES THE DIGITAL CITIZEN IN SOUTH AFRICA

    The Saldanha Bay Municipality has accepted the challenge to prepare its municipality for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and, in so doing, to...

    Baobab Smart City Project: Launch of the Saldanha Bay Municipality Digital Citizen App

    On Thursday, 02 June 2022, the Saldanha Bay Municipality in its continued commitment to be innovative and at the forefront of technology, has...

    SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY AT THE FOREFRONT OF IMPLEMENTING NEXT-GENERATION TECHNOLOGY – FIBRE INFRASTRUCTURE TAKING SHAPE

    In the wake of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, 4IR or Industry 4.0, it has become inevitable for governments to become part of this rapidly growing...

    WARD COMMITTEE MEMBERS

    SALDANHA BAY MUNICIPALITY WARD COMMITTEE ELECTIONS 2022 - 2026 WARD COMMITTEE ELECTIONS: 2022 - 2026 The Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM) Ward...