Homeless invade land after evictions

2015-08-30 11:16
A group of women relax under a gazebo on vacant land in Ruimsig after they were evicted from their homes. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo

A group of women relax under a gazebo on vacant land in Ruimsig after they were evicted from their homes. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo

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Trouble is brewing in Ruimsig, west of Johannesburg, where more than 100 people have invaded state and private land. 

Farm dwellers, many of whom are associated with the SA National Civic Organisation, have been erecting shacks on the land since Thursday, amid resistance from local residents. 

Patricia Mofokeng, who represents about 200 former farm dwellers, said their problems started in January when they were ordered to leave Plots 16, 43, 72 and 210. 

“Many of us have been staying on the farms for more than 20 years and we were shocked when people claiming to have bought the property told us to leave. We have been paying rent on the farm, but it now seems the owners want us to leave,” she said. 

Mofokeng said as a result of their impending eviction, they had identified a piece of land that they say belongs to government. 

“We have nowhere to go and this is the only place where we can afford to live,” she said while erecting a temporary structure at the corner of Glover and Hoeveld roads. 

However, there is a dispute over what land is owned by government and what’s in private hands. 

The invasion has been met with stiff resistance from the owners of the unoccupied land who claims people were invading their property. 

“This is our property and they are invading it. I want them out of my property,” said owner Anna van der Walt. 
Van der Walt said she and her husband were attacked when they confronted the residents to tell them they were invading their property. 

“I have laid a complaint of assault and trespassing at our local police station. I am also planning to obtain an eviction order or a court interdict,” she said. 

Local councillor Jaco Engelbrecht said he had already notified the housing division of the City of Johannesburg about the land invasion. 

“I have been waiting for them, but it appears there is a lack of interest to address the matter,” he said. 

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Karen Jacobs said the police would continue to monitor the situation and would only act after local government had intervened. 

Meanwhile, local residents have launched a petition against the land invasion.

Read more on:    land dispute

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