City to tackle invasion

2014-12-12 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality is to apply to the high court for a blanket interdict to stop future invasions of all municipal land.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi told the Executive Committee (Exco) yesterday that he and his team had done their own research on the matter. They were encouraged on learning that similar blanket interdicts had been granted to eThekwini and the City of Johannesburg.

Nkosi recalled the land invasions that took place in the city earlier this year, started in mid-July and lasted until the end of October. He said a lot of time and resources were spent and as court processes dragged on, they had to deal with invaders who disregarded the interim interdict in place and carried on building.

Initial comments by one of the city’s legal advisers, Sthembile Mkhize, were to advise against this action. Mkhize felt the municipality would not be successful in getting a blanket interdict because the parties to legal proceedings must be clearly identified in name or be capable of being identified or ascertained during the course of legal proceedings.

Nkosi said they were working closely with the City of Johannesburg and following processes used by that city.

Councillor Thulani Xulu said that with the 2016 local government elections looming, political protests could involve many more attempts at land invasion. He said the city needed to be prepared.

Mayor Chris Ndlela noted that this move was not downplaying people’s need for housing and land. However, he was concerned that many of the so-called leaders of these invasions had their own agendas and were not well-meaning community leaders.

He said while he did not have empirical evidence to prove this, indications were that these leaders had their own rather than the community’s interests at heart.

TENSIONS ran high in the city earlier this year when there were land invasions in Northdale, Woodlands, Chase Valley and Otto’s Bluff. Residents were critical of the municipality and felt it was not doing enough to stop the invasions.

However, the municipality’s hands were tied because it had to await the outcome of its application for an interdict to stop the invasions. When land invaders continued to erect structures in defiance of a temporary interdict against them, the municipality went back to court and lost.

The protests died down at the end of October when a high court judge granted a final eviction order against 921 illegal occupiers of three municipal sites in the city.

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