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Will the CID be able to remove shacks?

Short answer:


The CID will ensure that any new shacks are removed within hours. 

The CID will accelerate the removal of existing shacks.

Long answer:

The City also has two units that are dedicated to land invasion and the erection of illegal structures: the Land Invasion Unit and the Displacements Peoples Unit (DPU). When a complaint pertaining to an illegal shack is lodged, the City dispatches one of these units to address it. 

The problem is that these units are small and must manage the entire Cape Town Metropole, so response times are frequently measured in months. However, the reality is that any Law Enforcement officer can address this issue if they are correctly resourced.

The methods used to address it can be divided into two categories.

Category 1 – Structure erection

The law allows for any structure that is in the process of being illegally erected on public land to be immediately removed and the building materials used to be confiscated. The problem is that when the mandated unit eventually get there, it is usually too late and the structure is not only erected, but people have been residing in that space for a period of time.

Having a Law Enforcement officer on a CID vehicle 24-7 would mean an immediate response to the complaint. The erection would be halted, the CID urban team will be called in to assist with the breakdown and removal of materials used to erect the illegal structure, and the removal of materials to a City storage facility. The CID will not need to wait for one of the City’s two dedicated units to assist. The structure will be removed within hours. 

The CID’s visible Public Safety Officers, Tac Vehicles etc will also ensure that the offender does not return to try and re-erect the structure. If they do, it will be again be removed immediately.

Category 2 – The Structure is already erected.

Once a structure is erected the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act (PIE) comes into play. A court order would be required to forcibly remove the offender and the dwelling and possibly provide alternate accommodation.

In this situation, the City is required to formally apply to the court for an eviction notice. The City then serves notices to the affected offenders and gives them a period to accept the offer or face eviction. This legal process is long and fraught.

To the extent that there are existing illegal structures at the time the CID becomes operational, the CID will accelerate their removal, and the reintegration of occupants as follows:

–           By ensuring that the affected area is on the City’s list of areas to be applied for eviction.
–           By ensuring that the area around the structure is cleaned and managed in terms of litter, refuse, faeces etc

–       Further policing other bylaw contaventions associated with the illegal structures such as illegal fires, dumping, drug usage etc

–       CID Social Development assistance (in conjunction with the relevant City and Provincial authorities) with accessing shelters, family reunification or transportation back to places of origin

–       CID Social Development assistance (in conjunction with the relevant City authorities) with grant applications, job skills training, job placement

Furthermore, the CID’s Environmental Upliftment strategy will upgrade all greenbelt areas for the enjoyment of all residents, increasing foot traffic, providing eyes and ears for any new structures, displacing vagrants and ensuring Camps Bay remains free of illegal structures and other illegal activity.