The growing number of people relocating to eThekwini with the hope of better opportunities has resulted in an upsurge of land invasions across the city, Mayor James Nxumalo said on Wednesday.
“Municipality is facing a huge challenge of urbanisation, which results in the migration of people from various areas of our province and elsewhere, in search for better opportunities. This results in the mushrooming of informal settlements which adds to the current backlog,” Nxumalo told reporters at City Hall.
Nxumalo was giving clarity on the land invasions that have been happening in the informal settlements, including Cato Crest where a 17-year-old Nqobile Nzuza was killed by the police during a housing protest two weeks ago.
The mayor said political parties and shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali Basemjondolo, are implicated in the matter saying they encourage people to invade the land and spread misinformation for political gains. He warned that the municipality won’t tolerate land invasions.
“Council adopts a zero-tolerance approach to land invasion and is committed to putting an end to this practise.”
“We will no longer tolerate the mushrooming of new informal settlements and as such have utilised legal processes to stop the construction of new shacks as well as invasion of any state property.”
Nxumalo said government remains acutely aware of the need for housing and have responsibility to implement governance instruments to ensure solutions that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
The municipality is not obliged to prioritize new land invaders for housing delivery and won’t provide services like water, electricity and sanitation to them, he said.
For people living in existing informal settlement, he assured that the municipality will continue to provide services which are being rolled out to various informal settlements across the city.
“We remain the highest performing Metro in terms of housing delivery despite some of the challenges that we encountered in the recent past. Conversely, it is this very impressive housing delivery record that attracts people to our city.”
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