‘Evicted’ families have nowhere to go

Ndofaya residents sit around a fire to stay warm.

More than 10 families in Ndofaya, Mfuleni, are in dire need of accommodation after their homes were allegedly demolished by the City of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit.

The families, including young children, are now living in a single tent.

The families have been stranded since Saturday June 10. A handful of their items were left during the demolition.

One of the victims, Fezi Kolisi, said they stayed in the area for two months without any problems. She said all hell broke loose after more people moved in.

“We were not even shown an eviction letter.

“All we saw were men destroying our shacks. No questions were asked,” she said.

Ms Kolisi said some of the children were left without school clothes. She added that people had no place to go to.

The mother of two said they were prepared to live in the cold.

“Some of us were renting and that has become difficult. People are no longer working so they cannot afford to pay rent.

“I am one of those who can no longer pay rent because I am not working. The people who we rent from have no mercy. That is why we have resorted to building our own little thing here,” she told Vukani.

Another victim, Babalwa Qolweni, accused the City of being unfair to them. She said they were not asked questions.

“We are in this cold with children. There is a forest just behind us and a big canal that brings cold. Do you think we are so dumb to come and sit in an area this cold?

“We are here because we have nowhere to go. We cannot place our children in such a health risk. The City needs to come and talk to us so to know our plight,” she said.

Ms Qolweni said she stayed in someone’s backyard but could no longer afford the rent. She criticised landlords for increasing rent often. Besides rent, she said she had to buy electricity.

“For somebody who is not working that is too much. You still have to look after the children and their needs. The owners could not care less about our problems. All they want is money at the end of the day,” she said.

Ms Qolweni said men had to hustle for food and temporary jobs during the day.

“The men you see on the street corners are mostly from here. When it comes to sleeping, that is a tough one.

“We have to sleep, with some on the couch that we have, but we all bed down,” she said.

She said she had nowhere to go.

Condemning illegal land invasions, Mayco member for area east, Anda Ntsodo, said the City is not familiar with the name “Ndofaya” informal settlement but will assume this is a name given by the illegal dwellers to the land and structures that they are currently occupying.

He said these residents illegally invaded this land near the Nyakathisa informal settlement.

“The claims being made by residents that they had been living in the structures that were demolished by the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit are incorrect.

“There was never a need for the City to issue any warning notices as these structures were not yet occupied, they were still empty,” he said.

Mr Ntsodo said the City will continue to monitor the situation and will not allow the illegal occupiers to rebuild the structures.

“The City must reiterate that we condemn land invasions and the incitement to invade City, state or privately owned land in the strongest possible terms.

“Nobody is allowed to occupy or invade land without permission, consent of the owner, which in this case is the City of Cape Town,” he said.

He said as with all pieces of land, the housing needs across the metro are considered.

He said the City follows a systematic approach in an effort to ensure fairness and to prevent queue jumping.

Mr Ntsodo said although the City empathises with the plight of residents, they cannot allow the invasion of land.