By Matlhodi Maseko, MPP, DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Human Settlements:
18 people have been arrested for public violence that came in response to the demolition of illegally built shacks in Mfuleni. Around 600 people built shacks on land that has been earmarked for a housing development.
I call on the Mfuleni community to assist government in monitoring and preventing public violence. Community members must participate in ensuring that people adhere to the processes that are in place for delivering housing opportunities. Each citizen has a role to play in maintaining the law and order that is necessary for efficient delivery.
Land invaders in Mfuleni became violent by throwing stones at the contractors who were demolishing the illegally erected shacks. Petrol bombs were confiscated from violent protesters. While we understand that people are frustrated, we must not allow violence to undermine the processes that we have in place.
Where land has been identified for the delivery of housing, the community is engaged in the process as the beneficiary list is made public and comment and engagement is encouraged. It is important that the right channels are observed and that government and community share accountability for effective delivery of housing opportunities. Illegal occupation and violence continues delay and aggravates frustration, especially for those who have been on the waiting list for more than fifteen to twenty years.
Illegal land invasion has debilitating cost implications that are not budgeted for. It also denies occupants access to basic services and infrastructure planning, which poses health and security risks. It is simply not sustainable and we cannot
The demand for housing is great, as such it is vital that we allow for the delivery of houses to happen efficiently so that more may be done in a given time frame. It is time to be constructive and accountable in building our democracy.