Land invasion at Harewood

2015-01-26 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality moved fast to nip another land invasion in the bud on Friday.

The municipality slapped invaders with an urgent interim court order to stop them entering its property at Harewood, and ­ordering them to stop threatening councillors and officials.

The court order named 11 people who formed a committee (Izwilamadoda committee), who say they have a land claim on the property and are allegedly offering plots for sale.

They are Bonginkosi Ngubane, Mazwi Dlamini, Thulani Ntuli, George Ngcobo, Phumlani Mtshali, Dennis Masikane, Elton Ngwane, Sbonelo Gwala, Sihle Makhanya, Sipho Mzimela and Sduduzo Mboweni.

According to the court papers, ward councillor (for ward 23) Dumisani ­Phungula, and other municipal officials who intervened, received death threats.

The take-over at Harewood, earmarked for the development of 1 000 low-cost houses, is the latest in a series of land ­invasions that have plagued Msunduzi from last year.

The invaders are allegedly offering plots for sale between R8 000 and R40 000, and asked buyers to pay R500 for the hiring of earth-moving equipment.

Deputy municipal manager, economic development, Raymond Ngcobo, said earth-moving equipment moved onto the land on January 21. “The applicant established from Scotty’s Plant Hire that it was indeed the first respondent [Bonginkosi Ngubane] who had hired the grader in question,” said Ngcobo in an affidavit handed to high court Judge Anton van Zyl.

The judge granted an interim order restraining Ngubane and the other respondents from entering or occupying the land, and threatening Phungula, neighbouring ward councillors and any municipal ­employees.

They can oppose the interdict on February 19.

Ngcobo alleged that, at a meeting with the land invaders on January 22, they threatened him and said he would be killed “together with any of the local ward councillors, should we stand in their way of developing the land for their community”.

He said Phungula was previously threatened.

Ngcobo said the invaders don’t have any right or title to the land. “They are all unemployed people who are exploiting gullible members of the community into believing they are entitled to develop and sell portions of the Harewood property,” he said.

Ngcobo said he visited the area on ­January 21 with the police and found earth-moving equipment grading roads and sites on the land.

He said Ngubane told him his committee had a valid claim to the land.

“Threats were being made that this land belonged to their forefathers. That they would die for the land and will indeed kill for the land,” said Ngcobo.

He said some of the invaders were visibly armed, prompting a police captain to advise him and the other officials to retreat.

They did so, but he’d invited Ngubane to meet with the mayor the next day and bring any documents reflecting their land claim.

Ngcobo said they came to the meeting but had no papers or documents with them. He added that he has established from the regional land claims commission that no one has instituted a land claim ­relating to Harewood.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said yesterday police are monitoring the situation at Harewood.

No one had been arrested during the weekend, he said.

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