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The City of Cape Town calls on all private sector and community partners to help us to stop the scourge of land invasions across the metro. Those inciting the spate of attempted land grabs across the city do so according to their own narrow agendas. They do not care about the plight of our many desperate residents who ultimately have to deal with extreme flood, fire, health and safety risks when illegally settling on land that has not been earmarked for human settlement.

When land is invaded, it jeopardises emergency and basic service delivery; it stretches our resources; and it prevents progressive integrated development to manage rapid urbanisation. Many invaded erven are reserved for future housing projects, industrial development for job creation and future roadways that will be developed over time to manage urbanisation. When land is illegally invaded, we all lose.

Vulnerable people are often also asked by unscrupulous individuals to pay for ‘plots’ which are in most cases unsuitable for any sort of settlement and, if anything, often hardship is increased.It is therefore crucially important that land invasions do not jeopardise existing urban development programmes. Often, invaded land is simply unsuitable for human habitation or is on private land which could lead to years of litigation.

Illegal land invasions also threaten our housing and informal settlement upgrade programmes and the dedicated efforts that we are making to improve the lives of our residents. Over the next few years to 2020/21, excluding the additional funding allocated to formal housing projects, the City has earmarked some R600 million in total for various informal settlement upgrade programmes, re-blocking, super-blocking and the establishment of incremental development areas. In addition, this includes the expansion of service delivery in informal settlements in general. This is in recognition of the fact that programmes that upgrade informal settlements or that establish developments in an incremental manner are the best way to provide large-scale housing opportunities for our residents.

As a City, we are active in our informal settlements day and night and we know the hardships that many of our people are facing. This drives us to do more, but we need to do so in a planned, collaborative and fair manner that is to the benefit of all – especially those who have waited patiently on waiting lists for many years.

The City will not be held to ransom by those instigating land grabs and the associated violence and destruction that often go with it. We need to all stand together.

Our teams are doing everything humanly possible to thwart the multiple large-scale land invasions that are occurring daily across the metro.

We need your help.

Private land owners of open land tracts are also called on to take all reasonable steps to protect their land from being invaded. We ask that private land owners ensure that interdicts are in place if required; follow legal procedure to get trespassing orders in place if need be; and to take all measures necessary, such as hiring private protection firms to guard their land 24/7.

From our community at large, we ask that residents with information on possible land invasions please send us tip-offs. It will be anonymous and there could be an award for information leading to arrests.

We will continue all legal means at our disposal to prevent land invasions and maintain social stability.

We urge civic organisations to contact us to discuss how best to spread the message that land invasions lead to absolute misery.

Private landowners should contact us for advice on how best to deal with the threat of land invasions.

Please call the Public Emergency Communication Centre on 107 from a landline or on 021 480 7700 from a cell phone to provide information about land invasions. All calls are anonymous.

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