Baden Powell Shack Dwellers Demand Basic Services

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According to reports, shack dwellers along Baden Powell Drive in Khayelitsha marched to the sub-council officers on Monday to demand basic services from the City of Cape Town. 

There are currently an estimated 1200 households in the Empolweni, Ethembeni and Riverside informal settlements which formed during the lockdown.

The sub-council manager in Khayelitsha Lulamile Rorwana accepted their memorandum and promised to hand it over to senior CoCT officials.

Ethembeni community leader Nomazotsho Nobebe said, “The City is trampling on our right to dignity and living in a healthy environment. We want our human rights,”.

According to GroundUp an Empolweni leader, Ntembeko Moyeni said, “We are here to introduce our informal settlements to the sub-council so that the City doesn’t say it doesn’t know us … I don’t see why the City says we are not recognised informal settlements even though the Western Cape High Court said we could continue to stay on the land.”

The Western Cape High Court in April ruled that the City has to allow 49 evicted backyarders to stay in Empolweni. The court ruling was based on lockdown regulations which said no evictions during the lockdown period would be allowed.

Mayco Member For Human Settlements Councillor Malusi Booi told GroundUp, “The City has tried to prevent the illegal occupation of this particular piece of land to prevent this sort of situation from happening. As it pertains to Empolweni, the court has allowed 49 households to temporarily stay on a piece of the land in question until the court sits again.”

“Those who succeed in occupying illegally and knowing there are no services on the land unfortunately do so at own risk as there is a reason why the City has not designated some areas for housing.”

Booi said Ethembeni in particular was formed after a dry stormwater retention pond was unlawfully occupied. He reiterated that the land is not suitable for habitation.