Anti-Land Invasion Unit (Cape Town)

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The City of Cape Town created an Anti-Land Invasion Unit in 2009 to "stop people attempting to illegally occupy land".[1] In 2011 the City stated that the unit demolished about 300 shacks each month.[2] The Anti-Land Invasions Unit is the biggest unit in the City's law enforcement operation.[3]

Unlawful Actions by the Anti-Land Invasion Unit[edit]

When the unit was founded its director, stated that:

“Most importantly, the City will follow the letter of the law in obtaining interdicts and eviction orders. The law is very clear on this and we will continue to abide strictly to the Prevention of Illegal Evictions from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act, as well as the provisions of the Constitution,” says Hayward.[1]

However according to Sheldon Magardie of Lawyers for Human Rights the unit "is acting unlawfully". According to Magardie "the city is acting unlawfully, because if someone occupies property, whether it is (an) illegal (occupation), or not, one still has to get a court order or legal authority such as a by-law to do so. And if there is such a by-law which allows them to demolish property without notice or fair procedure, that by-law is unconstitutional."[4]

In May 2013 an article in The Daily Maverick claimed that the unit had acting illegally by evicting people from the Marikana Land Occupation without a court order and that City officials were justifying this in terms of a non-exist law and by lying about shacks that the unit had demolished being unoccupied.[5] Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos later wrote that these evictions were "Brutal, inhumane, and totally unlawful"[6]

Allegations of Violence and Theft[edit]

Allegations of both violence and theft have been made against the unit by grassroots activists[7][8] and in the media.[9]

Demolition of a Pre-School[edit]

It May 2013 it was reported that the unit demolished a pre-school in Langa under questionable circumstances.[10][11]

Call for the Unit to be Disbanded[edit]

The People's Assembly has called for the unit to be disbanded.[12]

Notes and references[edit]