While politicians and law-enforcement authorities have spent their time churning out self-serving propaganda, we have watched as all hope of securing our safety and security slip away. The shack-farmers have been allowed to conduct a successful land invasion and to surround our clinic in Khayelitsha. Already, a patient has been mowed down in front of our clinic and then our beloved clinic dog Lady, always wanting to meet and greet all visitors, met the same violent end.
It's only a matter of time before this happens to an impoverished child bringing their best friend to us for treatment.
NOW, AND NOT WITHOUT A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DISBELIEF,
WE HAVE TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT.
But first, we would like to take this opportunity
to point the following out:
We reported the land invasions a full month
BEFORE the infamous August 25th High Court ruling.
The first intervention on 31 July cleared the upper portion of land of shacks, but for undisclosed reasons, left the lower portion untouched…. No plan was put in place to prevent shacks from being built again, which any nana could've told you was going to happen - in other words, experienced politicians or law enforcement officers are not required to first figure this out.
Watch: August - Land Invasion. SA.MAST Under Threat.
The second intervention took place on September 1st, two days after Tamsin Nel appeared on ETV news. Unoccupied shacks, the very few which hadn't yet been rented out by shack farmers who'd by now already been given ample time to secure tenants, were broken down in under an hour. The very large contingent of law enforcement officers who'd been standing around joking with each other, then left. Within an hour of them leaving, vehicles arrived with replacement building materials. All in all, a very well co-ordinated affair for the above mentioned parties, but on both occasions SA.MAST was not given any notice of the actions about to take place, instead we were left to fend for ourselves amongst burning tyres and rioting. This is the measure of our value to the powers that be.
Watch: September - Update on Land Invasion Threat.
A lets-pass-the-buck statement while insulting the intelligence of concerned citizens is doing the rounds.
"If Tamsin Nel or any of her staff are being threatened,
they should lay a complaint of intimidation at SAPS."
Unless one has a very sincere death wish and desire to have your clinic and animal ambulances petrol bombed, one does not attempt to lay charges of intimidation against a group of strangers who have built shacks less than 2m away from you. While the propagandist politicians and SAPS officer making this statement may view our lives and the lives of our patients as 'expendable', we do not. And perhaps if they had to fundraise to buy and maintain their own equipment and vehicles, they would have a greater appreciation of how much we value ours.
If we are dead and our facility is in ashes, we cannot continue to conduct a mass sterilisation programme, prevent the spread of diseases from animal to human or treat the sick and injured.
On the morning of 4 September 2020 at the Lingulethu West Police Station, Tamsin Nel, Founder & Director of the SA.MAST Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha, met with Acting Station Commander Lt. Colonel Alcoc and Cpt Miller."
In this meeting Lt. Colonel Alcoc agreed that in terms of Section 3 of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation Act ("PIE"), it is a criminal offense to receive or solicit payment of money or other consideration as a fee for organising or permitting a person to occupy land unlawfully. Therefore, SAPS is legally mandated to conduct a
comprehensive investigation into suspected shack-farmers and arrest perpetrators. Importantly, a formal complaint or statement by any individual or entity, is not required to empower them to do so. We are thankful that unlike the previous Commander, this Lt. Colonel has agreed to pursue a request we had been making for over five weeks.
To this end, detective head, Colonel Bock, was given a set of licence plate numbers suspected to be linked to the shack farmers, which were either photographed or filmed and when too dangerous to do so, written down. These license numbers, some of which belong to high value vehicles, were captured during the course of the land invasion waves. So far, several of the vehicles have been traced to middle or middle-to-upper class areas. A thorough investigation should therefore lead to several arrests.
Because of all the risks associated with this land invasion and after all the threats, including a stranger telling a staff member he could shoot her anytime he wanted to, and because all our collective pleas, yours and ours, to secure our future and the work we do on the corner of Sizane & Sitofile Road have been made a mockery of, it has been decided we must relocate, as soon as possible, to a secure site in Khayelitsha.
RELOCATION HAS TO MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
1. Be large enough to house our free mass animal sterilisation, primary & advanced treatment clinic and hospital for the sick or injured, emergency shelter for at risk animals or long-term recovery patients, dip tank, wash bay, administrative office, educational centre and parking for our animal ambulances and those cat and dog guardians with their own transport.
2. To be as close as possible to our old location. Our immediate community have relied on us for over a decade, it is imperative that they can continue to do so.
3. To zoned correctly with access to water, electricity, sewage, refuse removal etc.
4. In a location that is not in danger of undergoing land invasions, shack fires, crime or disease hot spots.
5. Not on a busy road, posing a danger to walk-in patients and their guardians.
6. A developed or partially developed area with small or large businesses who would welcome our presence..
The enclosed area of open land on the above-mentioned erf, commonly known as the Khayelitsha Training Centre, meets all of the above criteria. The area has not undergone any development for more than a decade and SA.MAST has ascertained that the businesses operating from the various buildings would welcome the establishment of our facility. Many of these businesses have in the past already provided goods or services to the SA.MAST Animal Clinic.
We have submitted a proposal to the Manager of Disposals & Acquisitions at the CoCT Property Management Department, specifying that this is an urgent request to either buy or lease the land. We hoping to report that there is at least one hero that emerges from this sad tale.
To the hundreds and hundreds of souls out there who urged the authorities to work together and save us, we are tremendously grateful to you for all your efforts. We know we are not alone. You have helped to give us the courage to continue to do what needs to be done and to make tomorrow better today