Shacks demolished at Happy Valley

An illegal structure on erf 1117.

The City of Cape Town demolished several “illegal” shacks in Happy Valley, also known as erf 1117, in Blouberg, on Monday August 22.

In a statement, Ward 23 councillor Nora Grose said she had visited the site with government officials, including representatives from the Department of Public Works, and the City’s anti-land invasion unit, where she found 17 of the 19 original shacks.

There were also six illegal ones around Radar Road and the Blouberg Boulevard side, but apart from those, she said, “the settlement had not grown out of control as was reported”.

Happy Valley has proved to be a thorn in the side of homeowners who fear its expansion either as a squatter camp or as a low-cost housing development. (“Massive turn-out at Happy Valley Q&A, Tabletalk, June 24, 2015).

The land is owned by the Department of Public Works.

In her Facebook feedback to residents, Ms Grose said notices had been served on the illegal dwellers last week Thursday August 18, and and re-affirmed on Saturday August 20.

“Demolishing of illegal structures took place today (Monday August 22). The committee were instructed to report future illegal structures to myself and to Public Works,” said Ms Grose.

She said a large corrugated structure, which is visible from the road, is a shed, for which Public Works had given permission to an entrepreneur to start a vegetable garden. Public Works had also been asked to clear alien vegetation on the site.

“The department could not confirm the future of these settlers, but we will continue with discussions in this regard,” said Ms Grose.

At a community meeting last year, the City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Benedicta van Minnen, said the City’s negotiations to acquire the land from Public Works were “at an advance stage”.

She said that at the end of 2014, the City had approached Public Works, which wanted compensation for the land, something the City had declined.

“However, the City does want to acquire the land, which is strategic land, to control the development in the Western Cape region”, she said at the time.

At the time, residents were up in arms over a document, purportedly from the provincial government, which revealed plans for low-cost housing on erf 1117.

This was denied as “blatantly untrue” by the City of Cape Town.