Christy Zinn – Why Cape Town Must Get Serious About Land

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Photo: November 2014. In the first week of June, approximately 800 people were evicted from their homes at Lwandle informal settlement in Strand, Cape Town. It was not the first or last eviction to take place in a South African city this year. In fact, evictions happen “almost everyday throughout the country,” according to S’bu Zikode, president of South Africa’s largest national organisation of shack dwellers Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Yet the highly publicised event is an example of the vast social injustices that continue to deepen the trenches between social groups in South Africa’s cities today.

As detailed in a report from activist organization Ndifuna Ukwazi, ‘The Urban Land Question,’ published in The People’s Law Journal, Issue 2, in the Lwandle case, whereby a violent eviction took place midwinter that led to displaced families living in an overcrowded community hall for over two months, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) unlawfully used an interim interdict, which sought to stop more people from moving onto the land, to evict people already living there.

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