Court rejects bid for land invaders’ arrest

2014-08-23 00:00

A HIGH court judge yesterday rejected an application by Msunduzi Municipality for the arrest of land invaders who are ignoring an interim court order.

Afterwards, Woodlands resident Clive van Wyk said he feared the reaction of the community who are on the warpath over the invasions.

“Tensions are running very, very high. These people [the invaders] come from outside to hijack land that doesn’t belong to them. They are being bused in by private taxis to invade the land,” he said.

Van Wyk said many residents in Woodlands had been waiting for years for municipal houses. It was unacceptable for outsiders to come and take the land by force, he said.

Judge Yvonne Mbatha refused to entertain Msunduzi’s application to find the illegal occupiers in contempt of a court order, and authorise their arrest.

The land is in Otto’s Bluff, Lotus Park and adjacent to Northdale Stadium.

Mbatha said she wasn’t prepared to over-rule fellow Judge Kate Pillay who ordered last week that the illegal occupiers be given a chance to apply for Legal Aid and oppose the municipality’s application to evict them.

“This is a community issue and a housing issue … I am not going to order the arrest of these people today,” she told Msunduzi’s advocate, Chris Snyman.

The judge added that under the Constitution the municipality is obliged to provide housing for people.

Snyman replied that Msunduzi has a housing policy in place. However, the people invading the land were not living there, but had homes elsewhere.

He said they were “making a joke” of the court order granted against them.

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati granted an interim order on July 28 ordering the illegal occupiers to vacate the land and stop all activity on it pending the outcome of the dispute.

The case returns to court on September 11.

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