Uprising in Masi continues

Between 1 500 and 2 000 angry Masiphumelele residents marched in Kommetjie Road and burnt tyres on Sunday night after police clashed with land invaders earlier in the day.

Ocean View police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Errol Merkeur said the crowd had later dispersed after SAPS and Metro police arrived on the scene.

“Since then everything has been peaceful,” he said.

Earlier in the day, police had fired rubber bullets at a group of 150 people who had invaded a disputed piece of land next to the township on Saturday March 18. There is a court interdict stopping residents from building on the land.

DA chief whip Mark Wiley claimed there were some in Masiphumelele who had wanted to stop residents going to work, the following day, but Monday, March 20, had been peaceful.

He said it was only a small political faction that seemed determined to sow discord in the township.

He said erf 5131, the portion of land that has been the scene of several attempted invasions, was subject to an environmental impact assessment by province.

He said that while the land had been earmarked for Masiphumelele, only one third of it was habitable – the rest was wetlands – and even the habitable land would need to be raised above the water level before any construction could happen there.

This had to be done to ensure the safety of future residents, who were on a legal waiting list.

He said the people invading the land illegally were jeopardising the plans for those on the housing list.

Mr Wiley said he had asked ward councillor Felicity Purchase not stay out of the area on Sunday as threats had been made against her by certain residents. He had visited the area in her place.

Masiphumelele community leader Tshepo Moletsane confirmed that some in the community had tried to stop residents going to work but in the end that hadn’t happened.

He said residents believed they had a right to build their shacks on the disputed land because it had been bought for them for housing back when Nomaindia Mfeketo was still mayor of Cape Town under an ANC administration.

He said community leaders wanted to meet with SAPS to arrange a peaceful march in April when they planned to take a memorandum with their demands to mayor Patricia de Lille.

Masiphumelele residents, he added, viewed Mr Wiley as a neighbour but they didn’t feel he understood the full dimension of the problems facing the community.