Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Western Cape’s Human Settlements MEC appeals to residents not to invade land this festive season

The Western Cape’s Human Settlements MEC, Tertius Simmers has appealed to Western Cape residents not to invade land this festive season.

The calls comes after the construction sector, along with many others are taking a break this holiday period.

‘’This activity hampers progress at the various construction sites where the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements (WCDoHS) is attempting to radically improve and change the living conditions of the many law-abiding citizens that are waiting patiently on a housing opportunity. As we embark on the holiday season, the construction sector, along with many others are taking a well-deserved break for the next few weeks. Regrettably, those with criminal intent regard this as an opportunity to either invade land or our units that are currently under construction,’’ said Simmers.

1 639 land invasion attempts occurred since July 2021 in the Western Cape. The MEC said his department spent R97.23 million in the current 21/22 financial year, on securing properties and preventing invasions.

‘’Effectively, this means and excluding the bulk services that 585 Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing opportunities have been lost. We must stand together and discourage all forms of invasions, as it is those law abiding citizens, who are affected the most, as they have to wait so much longer. This is especially true for our elderly (60 years and older), those living with medically certified disabilities, those that have been on the Housing Demand Database (HDD) for 15 years and longer and our backyard dwellers.’’

The latest attempt was at Forest Village Development in Eersteriver, which saw 104 units vandalized.

‘’Amongst others, doors, handles and windows are some of the items that would have to be replaced. The damage incurred is in excess of R 588 000. Those who were due to move in early in the new year, will now have to wait so much longer to live in a safer and improved environment,’’ added Simmers.

The MEC said land invasion hampers those getting a place called home, having to wait for almost 5 years.

‘’It is important to point out that when land that is earmarked for housing development is invaded, the estimated delays due to the hampering of the process to deliver housing opportunities can range from a period of 3 months to 5 years or even longer in extreme instances. This is due to more often than not, that these invasion are followed by protracted court proceedings and processes that the department gets drawn into. That of course then has financial implications on what is an already strained budget committed to creating housing opportunity and restoring the dignity of residents.’’

Simmers urged residents to report any criminal activities

‘’We would like to urge the public to reject all those who are planning, attempting and or participating in this thuggery. Furthermore to report any and those who are involved to the law enforcement agencies, so that they can face the full might of the law.’’

‘’As a precaution the WCDoHS has appointed tactical teams moving from site to site and also increased visibility. We trust that there will be no need for any of these teams to become active during the current holiday period or anywhere in the future,’’ he added.

Archive: Bush Radio's Mitchum George with MEC Tertius Simmers

Done By: Mitchum George

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