News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Wednesday April 26th 2017

City tears down shack owner’s renovations

A neighbour watches helplessly as city officials pull down Nomonde Yiba's upstairs extension to her shack. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

Nomonde Yiba had been living in her shack in Khayelitsha SS informal settlement since 1993. But with four children, Yiba needed a bigger house. With no land in the informal settlement to extend her shack onto, she saw that other people had built double-story shacks, and so she decided to expand upwards.Three weeks ago she spent over R3 000 buying new material and she built a second storey.

But then on Wednesday her dream of having an upstairs living area was taken away.

The new storey on her house was torn down by the City of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit.

“I build the house for my children. We’ve been living in a two-room shack for so long. I saw people extending upwards and I did the same. I don’t know why city official chose my shack, I’m not the only person with an upstairs,” said distraught Yiba.

She said on Friday last week she did receive a letter from the city telling her that her renovations were illegal.

But then she went to the Khayelitsha resource centre and explained the situation to them.

“They gave a permission to continue with building upstairs.”

Resident Thulani Stoto said on Wednesday six city cars arrived at Yiba’s shack.

“They didn’t even ask questions. They jumped into Yiba’s house and within five minutes the house was down.”

He said the city officials didn’t even give them a chance to move the furniture that was upstairs down under cover.

“What they’re doing is not right. They don’t want to build houses for us, but when we try by ourselves they vandalise them. This is nonsense. I’m not voting again.”

Head of the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit, Stephen Hayward confirmed that they had torn down the renovations to Yiba’s shack.

“We had the right as land owners to act and take down the illegal extension that was built.”

Hayward said a notice was issued to Yiba warning her to demolish her upstairs extension.

“The owner failed to heed the notice and the illegal extension was therefore demolished. The existing structure was left intact.” – Nombulelo Damba, West Cape News

Tags: City of Cape Town, informal settlement, Khayelitsha, land invasion, stephen hayward

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