Shack demolitions in Philippi

Displaced resident says she can’t keep on paying rent with her child grant money

Photo of flattened shacks

A number of shacks at Xhwithinja, on the corner of Emms Drive and Lansdowne Road, Philippi, Cape Town, were demolished on the weekend. Photo: Buziwe Nocuze

By Buziwe Nocuze

5 June 2017

On Saturday, the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit demolished a number of shacks at Xhwithinja on the corner of Emms Drive and Lansdowne Road, Philippi, Cape Town.

Nokuzola Mthwa, 58, said, “I did not hear anything about us not being wanted here. I am surprised that our shacks are being destroyed.”

“I am staying with two kids and I am not working. I am using their grant money to pay rent, so by building this shack here, I was trying to save the R400 rent money that I have to pay each and every month,” she said.

“You see yourself how they [ALIU] destroyed them [the shacks]. They made sure that we cannot use them again. And what hurt me the most is that I bought the material to build this shack with the grant money,” said Nokuzola.

Buyiswa Mathenjwa, 35, said they were not harming people by building on the site. She said the City was “exaggerating the whole situation”.

Another resident said destroying the shacks wouldn’t change anything because they would rebuild immediately.

“They are treating us like we are criminals, yet they do nothing when they meet real criminals … They act like heroes just because they demolished our shacks. It’s a shame,” said the resident.

Another resident who was also watching while his shack was demolished said, “I have nowhere else to go. So, after they leave, I will build again.”

“The City does not use this land, so that is why I don’t understand their reason for destroying our shacks,” he said.

Councillor Eddie Andrews of the Mayoral Committee Executive Management Team said that a City patrol in Philippi spotted a group of people erecting structures and it was “established that none of them had permission from the City”.

Andrews said an operation was arranged with law enforcement and “a total of 11 illegal erected structures were removed and three illegal structures could not be taken down due to occupancy”.

He said the area would be monitored.