Taxi operators stop City from relocating families in Khayelitsha

Ward councillor says the move is urgently needed in order to fix sewage pipes affecting the whole area

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On Monday the belongings of 14 families stood stacked outside SST Town Two in Khayelitsha after an attempt by the City to relocate them was blocked. Photos: Vincent Lali

The City of Cape Town has been prevented from relocating 14 families from SST section of Town Two to a vacant portion of land in Green Point, Khayelitsha, near the corner of Japhta Masemola and Spine roads.

On Saturday, shack dwellers living adjacent to the open land at Green Point blocked trucks delivering the SST section families’ building materials and belongings, and stopped City employees from offloading them, according to Green Point community leader Busi Mrwebi.

Mrwebi said, “We can’t allow the City to place other residents here.”

Then on Sunday, taxi operators told the SST section families not to erect shacks at the Green Point site, according to Mzikazi Twani, former chair of Town Two SANCO. The two sites are within walking distance of each other.

“The law enforcement officers just watched while the taxi drivers removed our building materials from the land,” said Twani.

The taxi operators want a taxi rank on the site, which is adjacent to an area they already use, and the Green Point shack dwellers want it as a temporary relocation site while RDP houses are built for them.

Since the 14 families had already dismantled their structures in SST, on Monday their building materials and belongings stood stacked outside.

“We can’t cook because we have no access to electricity. We are hungry and no one gives us food,” said Twani.

People also missed work, waiting for the City to relocate them.

“We restrain people who try to occupy this land and they obey us,” said Green Point SANCO leader Andile Diko. He said a housing project for them was approved in 2020.

“We fear that once the families stay here for more than 24 hours, they will have a right to stay here permanently.”

Ward 93 councillor Thando Pimpi (ANC) said the City was trying to relocate the families so that it could fix damaged sewer pipes over which the SST section shacks were built.

“It’s an emergency. The damaged pipes must be fixed because they affect everybody there,” he said.

“I asked the SANCO leadership to allow the families to stay here temporarily … but they turned my request down,” he said.

Diko said if the City was confident the relocation was only temporary, there were other sites it could use, such as Khayelitsha Stadium.

City officials met with the taxi drivers on Monday and will meet again on Tuesday.

Councillor Carl Pophaim, Mayco Member for Human Settlements, said 37 structures built on top of a sewer line “were impacted by a sinkhole”. The City relocated ten families to an open space next to the clinic.

“An additional 48 structures have since been identified which need to be relocated.” But this relocation has been blocked.

City trucks relocating families in Khayelitsha were prevented from off loading building materials on Saturday.

TOPICS:  Housing Sanitation

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Dear Editor

The taxi industry is ruling the City. This has to stop. We cannot have this continuous interference in the city's efforts to perform its legitimate duties. Have any taxi drivers been arrested for withholding the people's possession? Surely, that is a crime?

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