Two separate illegal occupations were reported across the metropolitan area of Cape Town, after incidents late on Tuesday night and on Wednesday afternoon. Both Eerste River (Blue Downs) and Nomzamo (Somerset West) respectively were said to be the target areas, but only the former has actually encountered “an invasion”.
Eerste River incident – latest news:
The Forest Village Housing Development is nearing its completion in Eerste River, which is just 8km away from Cape Town International Airport. The new builds were targeted by nearby residents of the Mfuelni community, as 200 units came under attack. Around 100 doors were damaged, but department officials manage to disperse the crowds.
Tertuis Simmers is the Western Cape’s human settlements minister. He confirmed that the R1.1 billion project remained largely unaffected, and the politician has already opened a case up with the police:
“I commend the manner in which the Department’s officials dealt with the incident and ensured the site was secured. We have also opened a case with the police so that those guilty of breaking the law can be brought to book. I would like to urge residents not to act in a lawless manner.”
“Illegal occupations cannot be condoned as it hampers the delivery of houses to the very people that need it most. Our particular focus is on the most vulnerable and needy in our communities to ensure they are prioritised for housing delivery.”
Somerset West illegal occupation “dismissed” by councillor
Elsewhere, the City of Cape Town believed that a second illegal occupation was underway just outside of Somerset West, shortly after 13:00 on Wednesday. The N2 was briefly closed from Onverwacht Road until Hlathi Road, but it has since been re-opened.
Update: Land invasion operation in progress in Somerset West has been cleared. All lanes re-opened.
— City of CT Alerts (@CityofCTAlerts) May 29, 2019
However, this doesn’t seem to have been an attempt at an illegal occupation. Stuart Pringle is the ward councillor for the area, and he confirmed to us that the brief unrest was caused by residents of a nearby community hall, whose living arrangements have been altered this week.
He ruled out the idea that the protesters were staging a land grab directly linked to disruptions we had seen in Somerset West before the elections. The situation has now calmed in Nomzamo.