Land grab debate

Agi Orfanos, Blouberg

Land grabbing along Malibongwe Drive renders this gateway road dangerous, and the site is also alongside a crucial river that flows into one of the most important wetlands along the west coast of Cape Town as well as past Woodbridge Island and Lagoon Beach and into the sea.

All I can express is utter dismay at our politicians for allowing this to occur, and it needs to be stopped immediately.

I am further startled by and question how so many thousand shack dwellers suddenly managed to obtain so much building material, wood and corrugated sheeting, in order to grab that land and build virtually overnight.

This is obviously a well-orchestrated move costing many millions. Where did this money come from?Someone must be selling this land and materials illegally or else there would be some paper trail.

Sadly though, there is no infrastructure. Sewage is flowing into the country’s sacred wetlands where birds such as flamingos and pelicans migrate from the other ends of the world.

Politicians need to realise that unplanned squatter camps are destroying one of the most beautiful countries in Africa, if not the world, and one day they will have to face new insurmountable challenges to build formal housing and protect the environment.

To allow squatters alongside a new multi-million crucial roadway, much anticipated over 15 years, linking northern to western suburbs is short-sighted and unfortunately an eyesore.

Building shacks under dangerous power lines endangers the residents as well as the power supply. Shacks alongside such a busy roadway endanger residents next to this dangerous bend.

The squatters dangerously stop alongside this road and even mount the pavements to park vehicles alongside their shacks.

Unrest and demonstrations, including stone throwing and the burning of vehicles, have unpredictably closed this road numerous times.

Motorists fear for their lives and often avoid using this new dual carriageway.

As a minimum, a solid concrete barrier needs to be built alongside the road to protect both squatters and motorists.

Motorists gridlocked by inadequate infrastructure can spend three hours a day in traffic.

This squatter camp is unsuitable, and the land could be much better used raising taxes to be used for building better accommodation in more suitable areas. Even a park alongside this river could be built.

The squatter camp is rendering this gateway roadway useless.

Higher-income areas provide much of the rates and taxes and if the tax base is eroded so are the chances of improving the lives of the workers and poor.

Is this land grab, sacrificing important land for political or monetary gain? Surely the government, City and property developers should find other ways to cater for the poor and be brought to task.

Unfortunately the challenge is infinitely more complicated, as millions from Zimbabwe and other countries have migrated to South Africa and also require a share in scarce resources, schools, clinics, water and electricity, while the South African workers continue losing their job opportunities and becoming more desperate.

Sheila Brits, Milnerton

After re-reading this article, many times I find I am left stunned that this woman chose to put her children into this situation while expecting the government to provide basic amenities for them all to continue living on ground unsuitable for residential occupation.

I am also wondering where the father is and if he is assisting financially.

Governments can only provide commodities if funds allow and funds are derived from taxes, surely?

Maybe this family need to move back into the room they previously resided in which may have been smaller but at least better than their current situation?

Let’s hope the warmer weather will arrive soon and the health and safety of all folks improve.