Cape Town backyarders refuse to back down

Tammy Petersen, News24

Cape Town - A day after rubber bullets and stun grenades were used to disperse land invaders, 20 people again tried to erect structures on a vacant erf in Parkwood on Wednesday, the City of Cape Town said.

The city’s anti-land invasion unit and metro police were “dealing with it”, mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said.

This came after a violent stand-off between the council authorities, police and backyarders on Tuesday when a group of about 200 residents hurled stones and burnt tyres.

A group of 50 people moved onto the Acacia Road land and erected structures on Sunday night, Van Minnen said in a statement on Tuesday.
They were warned that they were acting unlawfully. City staff on Monday again warned the residents about building homes on the land.
“A city facilitator then met with all role players, including the local ward councillor and representatives of the backyarders, to try and resolve the situation.

“At this meeting it was agreed that the backyarder representatives would return to the group and explain to them that they had to take down their illegal structures.”

The residents, however, refused.

Police and city authorities removed 63 unoccupied structures on Monday afternoon and violence broke out.

Van Minnen would meet residents and community leaders in the area on Thursday. City units would continue to monitor the area.