- The owners of Parklands North want the City of Cape Town to take action to prevent the construction of new cabins on open land along the Diep River floodplain near their homes.
- Residents of the hut began to settle on the land during the Covid-19 lockdown and more and more people have come to live there since.
- Residents of the huts say they had to leave their old home after the floods.
Some first-time Parklands North owners want the City of Cape Town to take action against the cabin dwellers who have settled on open land along the Diep River floodplain near their homes.
The residents of the Pioneer Valley residential estate that GroundUp spoke to are first-time buyers under the government’s Individual Funding Grants (FLISP) program.
The cabins were originally erected in Dunoon. Many residents moved there after losing their income during the hard Covid-19 lockdown from March 2020. Then, during the winter of last year, many shacks were flooded and people moved to the area. Town of Table Bay Nature Reserve, near the Pioneer Valley subdivision.
Several residents of Pioneer Valley, mostly women, say they have submitted numerous complaints to the city that have been ignored. They wanted their names withheld, fearing they would be targeted or harassed.
Locals say they have to watch the cabin dwellers relieve themselves in public view. “What is Cape Town doing?” When we wake up we find 20 more cabins built, ”said one owner.
As more and more informal settlements increase, residents believe this will affect the value of their homes. A clause in their FLISP agreement states that the homes cannot be sold for eight years. “If it were up to us, we would sell these properties and move on. Our properties depreciate. All we ask is to build a wall, ”said one owner.
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the city had many acres of land across the metro and it was not possible to fence all of this.
“The City is aware of this issue and engages residents. Daily site inspections are carried out on this land. A court order has been granted to ban the erection of other structures on this land, ”Booi said.
On Tuesday, Phatiswa Gaga, a leader of the new informal settlement, explained that she and other occupants were due to move on August 8, 2020 after their huts were flooded.
She says there are 189 cabins erected in the nature reserve with around 500 occupants. Gaga says they have to relieve themselves in open spaces because there is no toilet. They do not have access to drinking water. A church had dug a well for them, but the water is salty, she says, so they use it for laundry or boil it for cooking.
Gaga says that city law enforcement officers patrol the informal neighborhood every day, looking for new shacks which they remove.
“We are fighting here alone and have our own vegetable gardens…. Regarding our informal settlement devaluing their homes, there is nothing we can do about it, ”says Gaga.
Residents of Pioneer Valley have also complained about the lack of public transportation. City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said a bus service would be rolled out to the region “within the next four months, if all goes according to plan.”
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