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Human Settlements Committee expresses concern over evictions

Human Settlements Committee concerned about evictions amid COVID-19. Parliament South Africa Human Settlements Committee concerned about evictions amid COVID-19.

Alleged evictions carried out by municipalities in Durban, Lawley in Johannesburg and in Cape Town

April 20, 2020

Staff reporter

Parliament, South Africa: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Machwene Semenya, has raised concerns over alleged evictions carried out by municipalities in Durban, Lawley in Johannesburg and in Cape Town.

Semenya said the evictions are unfortunate and inappropriate especially during the lockdown that was declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa to curb the spread of Covid-19. The evictions glaringly diminish the intentions of the lockdown and expose the already vulnerable people to the Covid-19 and other harmful elements such as crime and rainy weather.

“When the President and the Executive announced that there will be no evictions, we understood that those instructions would be respected by all. It is therefore unacceptable that municipalities have undermined the spirit of the lockdown and have shown clear disdain and lack of empathy for the people, especially the poor,” Semenya said.

Furthermore, Ms Semenya said: “We urge the municipalities to desist and refrain from any planned evictions henceforth, and to abide by the regulations.”

Although Semenya cautioned against illegal occupation of land by communities, however, due to lockdown she hoped that there will be no evictions. She added: “Illegal occupation of the land undermines the law of the country and should not be tolerated.”

The committee welcomes the plan by the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation to interact with the mayors of the identified municipalities to ensure that evictions are stopped. The committee will also request an update from the Minister during its virtual meeting on Tuesday.

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