A violent land invasion in Grabouw came to a halt yesterday after National Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi agreed to halt the demolishing of illegal shacks for now.
This after the department ordered the eviction of land invaders who built shacks on a piece of land owned by the department along the N2 highway.
The informal settlement has been named Siyanyanzela.
Ses’ Khona People’s Movement leader Andile Lili addressed a crowd late yesterday afternoon to inform them of the outcome of a meeting with Nxesi, MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela and Theewaterskloof Mayor Chris Punt.
Lili said: “We came to an agreement that there will be no more demolishing and a public meeting with Ministers Nxesi, Madikizela and National Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu will be scheduled soon.”
They’ve asked the Department of Public Works to hand over the land to the Housing Department so services can be provided to residents.
Earlier, the land invaders clashed with police after the government allegedly broke an agreement to stop the removal of shacks.
Cops used teargas and stun grenades to disperse angry protesters after contractors moved in to break down the structures.
Pelting cops with stones, angry residents shouted that they were misled by information that the evictions would be halted until a meeting with all relevant stakeholders could take place.
Pakamile Makaza of the Economic Freedom Front in Grabouw says: “A meeting was supposed to be held in Caledon but community leaders turned back when they heard the evictions would go ahead.
“The purpose of the meeting seems to have been to take the leaders away, after the community was told the actions would be put on hold.”
At one stage a police nyala became stuck in a ditch dug in the road by residents.
Meanwhile, Grabouw residents claim that most of the Siyanyanzela residents were brought in from other towns.
Christine Absalom, a resident of Hillside opposite Siyanyanzela, says they were left in the dark after tsotsis vandalised an electrical point.
She says: “We haven’t slept since Monday night when the protests started.”
Police arrested 13 suspects, between the ages of 18 and 45, on Wednesday, and a further 10 yesterday on charges of public violence. One was charged for possession of stolen property.
Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that one man was assaulted on Tuesday when protesters clashed with Grabouw residents who protected Groenberg Secondary School from vandalism.
“He is still in hospital,” says Van Wyk.