Diep River occupiers say they’ll move if City provides acceptable accommodation

119 Families served with notice to vacate land on the Diep River floodplain

By Peter Luhanga

13 June 2023

Land occupiers Khayalethu Gazi, Buhle Mpande, and Nontlantla Mdlekeza, who are among the 358 families occupying two portions of land on the Diep River floodplain, say they will not move voluntarily. Photo: Peter Luhanga

Formal notice to vacate the land they occupy on the banks of the Diep River was on 24 May served on 119 families who have been living on the municipal land near Parklands North since July 2020.

The families were given 21 days to comply, failing which the City would start formal eviction processes in accordance with the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act.

The families occupy erf 38295. Other families, who occupy the adjacent erf 79, were given notices to vacate within 21 days on 22 March 2022. The occupiers did not move and are still there.

Similarly, the families on erf 79 who were recently served with notices to vacate, had occupied the land during the Covid lockdown when they were no longer able to afford rent in Dunoon due to loss of jobs and income-earning opportunities.

Both these plots, says City Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Eddie Andrews, are of significant importance to Cape Town’s biodiversity.

Andrews said the City intends to incorporate the plots of land into the adjacent Table Bay Nature Reserve.

He said the land was also unsuitable for habitation as it is situated on the Diep River floodplain and thus faced the risk of flooding.

He said the 119 informal structures had no access to services such as water, sanitation, and electricity. This was the same for the occupiers of erf 79.

Andrews said should the occupiers of erf 38295 also not comply with the notice to vacate, the City would launch a consolidated eviction application for both properties.

Residents on both sites said they will not relocate unless they are given suitable alternative accommodation.