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I am deeply disturbed by the destruction and torching of public property in Gugulethu and Philippi this week.

We cannot tolerate or accept any justification for the destruction of property during protest action. We respect everyone’s right to protests but the violence and destruction cannot be condoned.

The destructive protests comes after the City went to the areas last week where I and local councillors met with residents to listen to their concerns.

I am especially concerned about the impact that such actions will have on residents who are trying to go about their lives going to work and school.

Residents of Gugulethu and Philippi should not be held hostage by some individuals who are hell bent on lawlessness.

I also want to place it on record that the City of Cape Town will not tolerate land invasions in the city. Land invasions are illegal and pose fire, health and flood risks.

I want to urge residents to follow proper housing and service delivery processes.

I have made it clear to residents that there cannot be any further occupation of any of the tracts of land until we have resolved the issue of land. I have given our commitment to working together with the community and to resolving issues in a peaceful manner.

This was communicated to the leadership of backyarders in Gugulethu during several meetings held last week. The lines of communication are open.

I will also personally meet the leadership of Philippi tomorrow, to follow up on a meeting we had with them last week.

We have negotiated in good faith with the leadership of the backyarders and we are doing all we can to find an amicable solution to the issues.

The City has had discussions with some of the affected landowners and we are continuing to hold further engagements with others.

I want to urge private land owners to act proactively, to safeguard property by fencing, monitoring or hiring private security. It is also advisable that they act quickly to obtain court interdicts against illegal land occupation.

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