Rumours of Jika Joe settlers in Glenwood spark land grab

2010-08-23 00:00

A SPURIOUS rumour that vacant land in Glenwood 2 is about to be used for building houses for the Jika Joe residents spurred residents from the area to engage in a massive land grab yesterday.

Hundreds of men, women, youth and children, all apparently from Glenwood 2 and armed with shovels and spades, invaded the plot below a sugar cane farm early in the morning.

They demarcated their plots with stones, bricks and plastic, and threatened to begin construction of their new homes today.

Police officers from Bishopstowe and Msunduzi Municipality security tried to reason with them, but in vain. The community disregarded them and continued staking their claims.

According to community leaders who declined to be named, the people were forced to invade the land after local leaders had failed to resolve their housing crisis and after rumours emerged that the community from the Jika Joe informal settlement was to be moved there.

“The people who live in Glenwood 2 area live in terrible conditions. Sometime five people are squashed into small spaces and others have opted to go and rent in town,” said one man who asked not to be named.

He said numerous attempts to get the local leaders to address their concerns have failed.

“During councillor Wally Adam’s tenure, he told us that this land had been given us and was ready to be developed for us, but since then nothing has happened.”

The residents said that after hearing of the plans by the Msunduzi Municipality to relocate the people from the Jika Joe settlement, they decided to invade the land before it was taken over by “outsiders”.

“Previously we were promised land in Glenwood 2 that was to be developed for us”, but it was later developed for outsiders while we remained without any land,” said a resident.

“When we heard that the people from the Jika Joe would be moved here, the community had had enough.

“We do not want the people from Jika Joe here. They were given land in France and they did not take it. This is our land,” he insisted.

Local councillor Mzwakhe Dladla came in for a hammering as the people blamed him for their plight.

“We do not have a councillor because he has never done anything for us. To date he knows all about our problems and has not done anything about them,” said another resident.

Other residents were excited about getting a plot. “I just heard this morning that there were plots up for grabs and I decided to come and get one,” said one.

Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr said he has been made aware of the situation and that it has been dealt with.

He stressed, however, that the rumour that Jika Joe people would be moved there is not true.

“We have been looking at possible areas in town for the Jika Joe people, but no decision had been made.”

Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan confirmed the invasion was reported and said the police had been called in to monitor the situation.

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