Municipality to tackle land invasions

2016-04-13 06:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality wants to move swiftly in addressing illegal land invasion taking place around Pietermaritzburg by implementing a land invasion and anti-land invasion strategy.

Land invasions occur every day and the Msunduzi Municipality’s security personnel, which is mostly reactive rather than proactive in this matter, is struggling to stop this trend.

A detailed report from the economic development committee states that the emerging land invasion in Msunduzi happens when “affluent people invade council and state land to build expensive homes with the incentive of not paying rates, and in some cases, getting free municipal services”. Land invasion undermines proper planning processes, prejudices rightful beneficiaries of housing opportunities, impacts negatively on housing delivery and sometimes interrupts service delivery, states that report.

The KZN Department of Human Settlements put together the KZN provincial land monitoring and anti-land invasion strategy to help municipalities fight this crisis.

The municipality is planning to set aside R3 million during the mid-term adjustment budget for an external security service provider which will barricade invasions.

Msunduzi’s deputy municipal manager for economic development Dr Ray Ngcobo recently told the Executive Committee that security will have to act within six hours of the invasion.

“All municipalities must establish the Municipal Rapid Response Team [MRRT] so that decisions are taken on the spot by the senior officials. We have already hired an invasion officer on contract. In terms of current court cases it is the responsibility of the municipality to provide alternative accommodation after people have settled for longer than six days,” said Ngcobo.

The MRRT comprises of the mayor, speaker, municipal manager, head of human settlements department, legal representatives, land invasion unit, community safety and crime prevention unit, risk management personnel, SAPS and public order police. Lands invasion is a nationwide phenomena and has been linked to urbanisation, the lack of formal housing, poverty and unemployment and shack farming. The external security company will also assist the municipality as it loses money dealing with land invasion court cases rather than preventing them.

“We have a disaster ahead of us. It cannot happen fast enough. We have not provided land for people to buy for themselves. That also must be addressed urgently,” said councillor Judith Lawrence.

Ngcobo said in their town land planning plans, they have identified land for RDP construction and land for conditional land use.

The identified hot spots in the northern boundary are Nkululeko, Regina­ Road, Ezinketheni, Nhlalakahle, Ottos Bluff, Beacon Hill Farm, Tamboville, Glenwood, Bishopstowe and Noordsberg Road.

In the southern boundary, the hot spots are Peace Valley, Signal Hill, Harewood, Ashdown, Marikane, Mkhondeni, Unit H, Water Works, Sinathingi Forest, Azalea Cemetery, EE Extension and Ambleton areas.

The land invasion in Vulindlela has been identified as a problem for proper land use and development. Land invasions halt proper supply of municipal services.

Msunduzi Municipality’s Mandla Zuma said: “Formal invasion are created­ by izinduma (tribal chiefs). By the time we want development we will be left with nothing. It’s going to be a difficult one because we will be expected to provide basic services, no matter where they reside. Once you have a settlement, formal or informal, you have to provide services while dealing with issues of urban planning.

“Water and electricity are basic human rights and we have to provide that. We need to engage with them in terms of Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (Spluma). In Vulindlela they allocate land as they wish. We have already had three meetings with amakhosi on the Vulindlela local area plan,” said Zuma.


‘We have a
disaster ahead of us. It cannot happen fast enough. We have not
provided land for
people to buy for
themselves’

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