Otto’s Bluff Road invaders admit wrongdoing, but plead they have no choice

2014-07-29 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG land invaders were ordered yesterday to stop building on municipal land.

Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati granted an interim interdict, ordering the invaders from Site 11 (Otto’s Bluff Road), to stop building on three vacant sites. These are at Otto’s Bluff, in Lotus Park and on land adjacent to the Northdale Stadium.

They now have to file replying papers, on why the order should not be made final. Three of the invaders however addressed court and admitted they were doing wrong. They, however, blamed the municipality for not addressing their grievances. The invaders had recently started chopping wattle and gum trees to start building their homes, and planted poles and erected structures in the Otto’s Bluff area.

Municipal informal settlement manager, Simphiwe Mbanjwa, said in his affidavit there are plans to upgrade informal settlements.

“The applicant [Msunduzi] is struggling to keep up with this programme because people are invading almost everywhere and the municipality does not have the manpower and funds to police invasions and has to rely on municipal security, who also have limited staff,” said Mbanjwa.

He added that the municipality is doing everything in its power to improve the circumstances of informal settlers.

The municipal head of security, Patrick Radebe, said the invasions posed a risk to lives.

“There is no infrastructure, running water, toilets and sewerage systems. There is no drinking water and it is a very unhealthy state of affairs which will endanger the life [sic] of people should they move onto the properties,” said Radebe.

He added that these people had places to stay, but they had decided to invade the land. Empty promises during electioneering by the ward councillors are haunting the Msunduzi Municipality, the court heard.

Three representatives of the land invaders were given a chance to address the court while others were picketed outside the court.

The group did not have legal representatives but they admitted that they were wrong for invading the land.

One of them, Debra Buyers told the court the municipality should be keeping its promises about housing for them. “We know that it’s wrong to be on the plots, but municipality is not giving us any options. They won’t come to meet us and instead chose to send the matter to court,” said Buyers.

Another resident from Northdale, Sethule Mchunu, said that the land they invaded had been a “den for criminals”.

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