WATCH | Cape Town mayor wants ‘illegal occupants causing flooding’ removed

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis wants shacks built on top of city infrastructure removed as he says it causes flooding. File photo.
Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis wants shacks built on top of city infrastructure removed as he says it causes flooding. File photo.
Image: City of Cape Town

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis plans to start a legal process to have “illegal occupants” who have built homes on top of municipal infrastructure in the city removed as he argues some block drains and worsen flooding in the region.

The city has been experiencing heavy winter rains which have wreaked havoc across the Western Cape this week. More rain is expected to hit the province on Thursday.

Hill-Lewis visited the Dunoon area this week to assess damage caused by floods. Standing almost knee deep in water in a street, the mayor said city officials were unable to access blocked stormwater pipes and drain infrastructure in Dunoon, which has worsened the flooding.

“This is an important time to make a point about illegal occupation, especially over city infrastructure. I'm here in Dunoon where some of the roads are completely flooded and these poor residents have had to leave their homes because the flooding is so bad.

“Our teams are standing by here but cannot access the drains and the pipes that they need to clean out because there are a number of informal, illegal structures [shacks] that have been built on our city infrastructure causing this flooding,” he said.

Lewis said the municipality would approach the courts to remove people who have “illegally” built on top of the metro's infrastructure.

“It is important for us during our summer months and at all times to protect city infrastructure and make sure it is not illegally occupied. We will have to go through a lengthy court process to remove those structures so that by this time next winter this particular road can be clear of flooding.”

Reacting to Lewis' remarks resident Jonathan Gordon said: “Why wait until disaster happens to find this? It is unacceptable, the city needs to do inspections on a monthly basis. I'm sure the funds used now outweigh the cost of doing good diligence on a monthly basis and it will protect lives. The human resources that have been used to help the people affected by this disaster can be avoided.”

Another resident, Bukani Chikwata, believed the problem over illegal occupation could be resolved by the government allocating land for people to build.

Allocate people land and spaces that are not on municipal infrastructure,instead of going to court to evict them. Use that money to build shacks elsewhere or Wendy houses.”


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