Mtubatuba land invaders say it was theirs in 1937

2012-04-05 00:00

PEOPLE accused of illegally invading and selling off plots of privately-owned land in Mtubatuba claim the land falls under the Mpukunyoni tribal authority and belongs to the Nkombose people, who were forcibly removed in 1937.

This allegation is contained in an affidavit filed in the high court in Pietermaritzburg by Mphatheni Ndwandwe in opposition to an interdict granted last month in favour of the alleged landowner, Neil Jorgensen of N & B Estates and Bonmuir Estates CC.

In his affidavit Jorgensen said no land restitution claim had ever been lodged over the land in question.

The interdict obtained against Fani Bhekinkosi Ndwandwe, the Minister of Police and station commander of the SA Police Service at Mtubatuba, was extended by consent yesterday until the finalisation of the matter.

The case was adjourned for an indefinite period pending the filing of further affidavits and documents.

In terms of the extended order the police at Mtubatuba were instructed to remove anyone from the land who does not have permission to be there.

In his affidavit Jorgensen said the two properties were lying fallow because he had been forced to leave the land for his own safety.

He said all attempts at farming were frustrated, he was the victim of numerous robberies, and last year was attacked and so badly beaten he had to leave the land and move to the village.

He also alleged an undercover informant was offered a plot of land on his properties at a price of R500 plus an administration fee of R160.

Ndwandwe “strongly” denied that plots of land were being sold off.

“The only fee that is paid is R60, which will be used for various needs like demarcation of plots, infrastructure etc.,” he said.

He said the Nkombose people had been forcibly removed from the land in 1937.

“Over the years the land has been used for various purposes, but currently it is vacant,” he alleged. It was for this reason that the Nkombose people resolved to form a committee of 14 people who would facilitate and administer “the return of the land to the original owners, the Nkombose people”.

He said it was true that meetings were held on the properties in order to discuss the “smooth” return of people to the land. “Currently a list of 9 000 families who were forcibly removed from the land has been prepared.”

Ndwandwe said it was “incomprehensible” on what basis the applicants were claiming ownership”, and that their ownership must be proved.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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