POLITICAL NEWS - Land invasions remain one of the greatest and costliest obstacles to the development of integrated, safe housing opportunities in the Western Cape, with measures to stop invasions costing the provincial Department of Human Settlements nearly R116 million in the 2020/2021 financial year and nearly R269 million since the 2018/2019 financial year.
This was revealed in reply to a parliamentary question which indicated that since March 2020, a total of 1 025 land invasions have taken place on land owned by the City of Cape Town.
MPP Matlhodi Maseko says: “I will be inviting the City of Cape Town as well as the provincial Department of Human Settlements to brief the committee on land invasions in the Western Cape and the ways in which these criminal activities might be mitigated in the future.
Beneficiaries who have patiently waited their turn should not be pushed further down the list by individuals who attempt to jump the queue.
Land invasions are a sustained problem within the City of Cape Town and in the Western Cape as a whole. Individuals and groups are often unaware when they invade land parcels that much of the land is not suitable for housing developments.
Land parcels may be too small, lie on flood plains, or face other factors which make the development of housing opportunities not only impractical but they also place residents and their homes at risk.
Since March 2020, there has been an increase in the amount of orchestrated land invasions across the province with the provincial department having to divert more than R54 million to the protection of land parcels in the last financial year. The impact of this is compounded by national budget cuts which continue to shrink the provincial department’s resources.
Thousands of housing opportunities are lost when resources are diverted away from housing developments, costing the most vulnerable their homes.
Orchestrated land invasions are often used as a way to jump the queue on the Housing Demand Database with individuals hoping to force governments to place them ahead of other law-abiding beneficiaries who are often elderly, living with disabilities, military veterans or those that have been on the Demand Database for more than 15 years.
The occupation of the Woodstock Hospital as well as the Helen Bowden property for the last four years are just some examples of illegal occupations. These are situated in prime locations and stand to offer not only homes, but access to social and economic opportunities near urban hubs.”
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