atlantis land grabs

DA folds to Atlantis land grabbers [video]

Andile Sicetsha - 20.02.2021

Atlantis police clashed with land grabbers in Witsands this morning.

Tensions are palpable in Atlantis, Western Cape, where large groups of land invaders are deadset on erecting structures on a stretch of City-owned land.

Watch: Atlantis land grabbers clash with police

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the blue and white lights of Atlantis’ law enforcement unit shone on a stretch of land in Witsands, where displaced families were building informal homes.

From what is witnessed in the video below, attempts were made to disperse the crowd. However, this directive was outrightly ignored by the land grabbers who refused to vacate the area.

City of Cape Town under pressure to stop land grabs

The City of Cape Town has noted that it is aware of what’s happening in Atlantis. Emma Powell, the DA’s constituency head for Durbanville/Blaauwberg, indicated that law enforcement teams are being coordinated to prevent land grabbers from erecting structures in the area where a school was recently built.

Unfortunately, Powell added, “the situation remains volatile.”

The DA-led City is in a race against time to put a halt to the invaders’ attempts. The national disaster management regulations will, for one, deal a huge blow in the provincial government’s efforts of protecting its land if illegal structures are eventually set up.

Secondly, a recent Western Cape High Court order has effectively tied the City’s hands in handling illegal structures.

“Sadly, the national disaster management regulations as well as a recent Western Cape High Court interdict, prevent the City from protecting land once a structure is erected. We therefore only have one option which is to guard against land invasions as they occur,” Powell explained.

According to the ANC in the Western Cape, though, the tensions we are witnessing in Witsands are a culimation of the DA’s poor management of poor communities.

The land grabs were inevitable, ANC provincial spokesperson Andile Lili told the Cape Argus. Poor service delivery, he said, was the chief motivation behind the invasions.

“It’s only in the media that the DA cares about people. On the ground you will see the reality that our people are exposed to bad conditions,” Lili said.

Thus far, the DA leadership in Witsands has made no attempt to hold a symposium with the community. instead, the governing party is using its enforcement arm to meet land grabbers with aggression and intimidation.

“The DA in Atlantis is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work with officials from the City to make sure that the situation does not escalate. Residents are encouraged to contact the law enforcement’s anti-land invasion unit or the ward and PR councillors for Atlantis should they suspect that land is under threat of invasion,” Powell warned.