Judge wants more information about land invasion

2015-02-04 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality’s woes over alleged illegal land invasions are continuing at Ambleton on land already earmarked for 3 000 low-cost houses.

This emerged in a high court application launched by the municipality yesterday to restrain “unidentified, potential occupiers” of land from invading Ambleton phase three.

High court Judge Esther Steyn, however, said before hearing legal arguments in the matter, she wants more information about what happened in a previous court case involving Ambleton, which the municipality lost in 2013.

The judge also said she would like to hear why Msunduzi “cannot secure its property”, assisted by the police if necessary.

The case was postponed to February 24, while attempts are made to locate the file relating to the previous application that was first launched in 2012.

In an affidavit, Msunduzi’s acting municipal manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo said the municipality had sought an order in November 2012 to restrain occupiers at Ambleton from erecting further structures and authorising Msunduzi to demolish unauthorised occupied buildings.

An interim interdict was obtained in favour of Msunduzi, but on the return date it was dismissed by a judge.

“The judge hearing the matter declined to grant an order and averred that the application was an eviction in disguise,” said Ngcobo.

Ngcobo said there are three categories of illegal occupiers of land at Ambleton phase three.

The first consists of people who are already in occupation of illegally erected structures on the property and who have been given notice that eviction proceedings will follow in terms of the Prevention of Illegal Occupation of Land Act.

The second relates to others who were allocated sites in the phase two development at Ambleton and have illegally extended their occupation into the area earmarked for phase three.

Now a third category has emerged, comprising yet unidentified “opportunistic individuals” who are attempting to invade the land.

While structures have not yet been fully erected, construction work has started and in some instances structures have been built to at least roof level. However, none of these buildings are currently occupied.

Ngcobo said it is this third category of illegal occupier that is being targeted in the present application in order to stop more people invading the land that is already earmarked for low-cost houses.

If allowed to do so, this will prejudice people already on a list for housing in the area.

Ngcobo said while the proposed development by Msunduzi envisages plots that are 300 square metres in size, the plots currently being occupied by illegal invaders are 1 000 square metres in size.

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