Another housing timebomb went off in Grabouw this week.
Hundreds, some say thousands, of people from the Siyanyanzela informal settlement turned the dorp into a full-on war zone after they were given notice that their squatter camp of about 1500 shacks would be removed.
They stoned cars, barricaded main roads and torched the local traffic department.
It went woes! Over 20 people have been arrested.
The land they are fighting for belongs to the Department of Public Works, and the department wants them off it.
The only reason given is that the area is near an “essential water source”.
The residents could care less, however, they are poor farm workers and need homes for their families.
There are many communities like Siyanyanzela – closer to home there’s Siqalo, Marikana and Lwandle, to name a few.
And we can expect many more new settlements to sprout up on land that doesn’t belong to them.
There are lots and lots of poor people out there who need land – and they are being mobilised by radical groups like the Ses’khona People’s Movement.
Unless government makes more housing available to them, mense are going to continue to invade “unused” land.
Here we’re talking about SANParks reserves, SANDF, PRASA and other state-owned property.
Even then, it’s not as easy as just portioning off land and handing it over free of charge to the most violent protesters.
It’s not fair to those who work hard to be able to buy a house.
And what happens to people already on the waiting list for years?
The housing crisis a massive headache and it’s only going to get worse.
So sterkte to Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.