Police and protesters have clashed over land in Hermanus again – this time after Mount Pleasant residents erected shacks near the R43 after they were not mentioned in the council’s emergency housing plans.
“It was with regard to a land issue again between the municipality and the members of Mount Pleasant,” Overberg cluster commander Brigadier Donovan Heilbron said on Friday.
“Apparently the mayor made an announcement [on Wednesday] and he did not include Mount Pleasant in his discussion or proposal and those people became very upset.”
He said annoyed Mount Pleasant residents took to the R43. Stun grenades were fired to disperse people who had set tyres alight. There were no arrests.
Heilbron said he facilitated a meeting between protesters and Overstrand council official Rodney Williams.
Williams told protesting residents the only reason Mount Pleasant was not mentioned in the emergency housing plans was because the site had not been approved yet.
The road along the popular whale route was alight with burning tyres overnight, but the area had been cleared by around 03:00 on Friday to allow passage for motorists and to stabilise the area for matriculants writing their exams.
During a protest in Mount Pleasant in May, protesters said they felt that their neighbours in Zwelihle were getting attention, and that they were left out.
We sister publication The Hermanus Times reported that some structures were erected in a field near the R43, between Mount Pleasant and its neighbour Zwelihle.
The Hermanus Times reported that Williams told the community that use of the land at Jacobregop Street, in an area known as Ghost Town, is still waiting for approval but funds have already been allocated.
The final recommendation was presented to the mayor on Thursday and the municipality will start work on site preparation next week.
Work is still under way for emergency housing in other areas also not mentioned in the speech, such as Betty’s Bay.
“The names of the beneficiaries who qualify for emergency housing have been identified and will be informed shortly,” a statement said.
“The people who marked plots on the side of the R43 have been addressed and structures will be removed,” said the municipality in a call for calm.
In a council report back on Wednesday, the progress made in the Masakhane, Stanford, Zwelihle areas were mentioned.
Expenditure of R3m will be appropriated in a forthcoming adjustment budget for the various projects.
The municipality also started a housing verification process on Thursday to make sure people who qualify are on the list.
It will be conducted until November 30 from 08:00 to 16:30 and residents can go to their nearest municipal office to make sure they are on the list.