“Unfair for the city of Cape Town to link the floods to the occupation of the land”
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Cape Town – According to Zama Mgwatyu, program director of the nonprofit Development Action Group, it was unfair for the city to link localized flooding in informal settlements to land occupation.
The city said land occupations and invasions in flood-prone and inundated areas have made the distribution of flood kits almost ineffective, after the week-long heavy rains.
Following more than 200 on-site assessments, the City said flooding had been reported on what it claimed to be primarily “newly illegally occupied areas” on flooded land.
âWe have informal settlements today due to the failure of government, both local and national, to meet the housing needs of the majority of the population of this country. If you register with the accommodation database, you don’t know when you will receive anything.
âNot everyone is eligible for an RDP house. We have seen, out of desperation, the occupation of vacant land. These people are not engineers, they are desperate for housing, âMgwatyu said.
âThe government should be proactive in identifying plots of land, should pack them up, help them and give them the opportunity to build their own homes. It is unfair to expect residents to do the work of engineers and architects; they are not trained to be built environment professionals.
He said little support had been given to those who had occupied land last year during the hard lockdown, where many people, especially backyard dwellers renting private land, were evicted.
âThe Western Cape Rental Tribunal does not support those who rent in the township, so we have mainly seen backyards invading, especially during the foreclosure and by those in the informal sector.â
Mayco member for human settlements Malusi Booi said the city has provided 2,000 flood aid packages, as well as individual plastic sheeting and sandbags, where possible, to settlements. informal workers struggling with flooding.
âIn about 70% of all new illegally occupied areas, achievable flood mitigation is not possible due to low terrain, including flood plains, wetlands and flooded areas. In addition, part of the land that has been occupied is located in dams or belongs to individuals.
He said many flood hotspots were in recently occupied areas, such as Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Dunoon and Khayelitsha.
âThe surge in illegal occupations since the start of the Covid-19 shutdown in March 2020 poses serious problems on the ground, as we can see from the high level of flooding incidents and where they have been. products.
âThe City has systematically informed residents of the health and safety risks associated with the illegal occupation of unsuitable, flood-prone and inundated lowlands.
âThere are simply no feasible engineering solutions for certain areas, for example those located in ponds or dams or on private land. The City will continue to help where it is possible to do so, âsaid Booi.