Squatters booted out

2013-12-12 00:00

SQUATTERS who invaded a private property development owned by the controversial Durban businessman Jay Singh were evicted yesterday — eight days after taking up occupation.

And in a desperate attempt to delay the eviction they held an impromptu Nelson Mandela memorial service.

A heavy police presence watched as the Inanda North sheriff gained access to the 96 units at the Hilldale Complex, Newlands East, while a low-bed truck, labourers and security personnel removed furniture, blankets, mattresses and ordered people out.

Many of the squatters, who had previously claimed to be poor residents from the nearby Polokwane Transit Camp, had their vehicles on site, including a Peugeot, a Chevrolet SUV and a VW Jetta. They confessed to being employed and having previously rented elsewhere.

Others admitted to having left their rented accommodation while all residents believed the eviction was illegal.

The eviction order was granted by the Durban high court on December 6 with the eviction expected to have taken place on the same day.

But Singh said in a statement earlier this week the reason they delayed the eviction order was to honour the death of “the father of the nation”. Mandela died on December 5.

Newlands East SAPS station commander Colonel Bongi Ntuli said while the police were expected to be present the securing of the property was the responsibility of the development’s owner.

“Our role is just to monitor the situation and make sure everything is done legally,” she said.

Invasion leader Ayanda Ngubane, who lives at the transit camp, blamed the occupation on the ruling ANC.

“This is not what Mandela fought for. The transit camp is terrible. People are dying, there is no electricity. Only since we invaded were poles erected on the promise of power being supplied. We deserve better. This is what we voted for,” said Ngubane.

Last week over 300 people invaded the partially finished development. Singh was ordered to stop construction in November by the National Homebuilders Registration Council (NHBRC) claiming the construction was illegal.

Court papers seen by The Witness filed on Singh’s behalf, said the flats, which had cost R19 million to construct, already had paid for tenants who were waiting to take occupation.

Singh is the tender tycoon also linked to the collapsed Tongaat mall, and who has netted more than R2 billion in city contracts in the last 10 years.

Singh’s spokesperson Melanie Moodley did not respond to questions sent.

The sheriff’s office refused to make any comment.

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