Residents in land grab

2014-07-22 00:00

A GROUP of people has invaded private and municipal land near Woodlands, along Otto’s Bluff Road, claiming that they were promised houses before the elections.

The angry community of Ward 32 invaded part of a forest. They come from nearby informal settlements that include Site 11, Woodlands extension and Ghost Town. They have cut down trees in the forest for use in building their houses. They said they have more than 7 000 members who “registered” for the land invasion.

The group, who did not want to be named, said they were promised houses by ANC officials ahead of the elections.

“We demand this land from the municipality. They should just allow us to build our homes as this is a vacant land. We are crowded in Site 11 with no space to extend. Our families are growing and we need to have more houses,” said a group member.

“They know that we are a poor community that can’t afford to rent houses; they should let us build on this land,” the member added.

They said they don’t have a leader as they are tired of empty promises.

Ward councillor Mary Schalkwyk visited the portion of land early yesterday and addressed the group.

“They did not want to move off the land. Part of the land is private and the other is municipal land. They can’t just build without permission from the municipality,” said Schalkwyk.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed that security personnel are monitoring the area.

“We sent our security after we received news about a land grab. The municipality is against land invasion. We will allow law enforcers to take care of that. People should learn to follow correct channels within the municipality or to contact their councillors,” said Mafumbatha.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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