Informal settlement evictions must be done humanely

The lawful eviction of families who live in illegal informal settlements must be done in a humane and considerate manner.  The refusal by officials of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to help the families who were evicted yesterday (subs:  Tues, 27 Jan) from the Lapland informal settlement on the outskirts of Tiryville in Uitenhage is unacceptable.

The DA respects the court order issued by the authorities six months ago for the eviction of the 450 families who have been living illegally in the Lapland informal settlement.  Furthermore, we accept that land cannot be occupied illegally.  But we cannot condone the manner in which the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is going about the removals yesterday (subs:  Tues, 27 Jan).

Upon visiting the Lapland community this morning I was informed by officials of the Metro that they would not provide the evicted families with any alternative accommodation.  These people have been camping outside in the rain since last night.

The DA is currently looking at alternatives to relieve the plight of the families.

When D-Day comes, all such evictions must happen in a humane way and not on a day with bad weather and no suitable alternative accommodation for the families.

In June last, year, when the Lapland-families were served eviction notices, NMBM spokesman Kupido Baron was quoted in the media that if the Lapland-families remained on the land, the Metro would only supply them with services by 2032 and that they should return to the backyard structures where they had been living previously.  “Ten percent of all new housing developments go to people who live in backyard structures, so that is the quickest possible way for them to be accommodated,” he said.

The Metro cannot make threats on the one hand and promises of housing on the other.  The bottom line is that people cannot simply be moved at the last minute with no concern for their welfare.

We respect the law, but we urge the Metro and relevant authorities to go about the evictions humanely and to provide suitable accommodation.