Ekurhuleni to bolster fight against illegal land occupations

2017-02-01 08:30
(Image: EFF website)

(Image: EFF website)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – The City of Ekurhuleni is set to launch a land occupation unit to address a growing scourge of land invasions in the region.

"At some point it just mushroomed all over the municipality and we did our level best to quell it but even brand new houses were targeted," said member of the mayoral committee (MMC) Lesiba Mpya on Tuesday.

He said the resolution which was adopted under Mayor Mzwandile Masina meant an even closer working relationship with the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department, as it would have the responsibility of training personnel.

Mpya said the decision to establish an 'in-house' unit was the result of analysis made by his department as well as the mayoral council.

"We have seen a spate of land invasions in the past couple of months, where either council-owned or private-owned land is being invaded by those who want to occupy that particular land," he said.

Mpya admitted that calling on service providers to help with the issue had become a financial burden for the city.

Budget increase

The Star reported on Tuesday that the ANC was worried about the municipality's spending of R22m on unbudgeted security fees.

These included the monitoring and patrolling of land which was targeted by land invaders between September and November 2016.

During a presentation at the Ekurhuleni Press Club on Friday, infrastructure MMC Robert Mashego told journalists that through adjustments made by other departments, additional funds were allocated to the human settlements department. Its budget went from R550 497 392 to R710 359 021 to assist with the backlog and ever growing demand for housing.

Mpya told News24 that it made both financial and governance sense to rework the current system.

"We are paying the service providers far too much for a service that can be done by us as government," continued Mpya.

He said service providers were not only called in to combat illegal land occupations but to assist the government on other projects in relation to moving people to and from informal settlements.

'A waste of money'

The human settlement MMC said most cases of land occupation were influenced by political agendas from other political parties.

EFF leader Julius Malema has made several calls for supporters to invade unoccupied land. The red berets' commander-in-chief has also appeared before the Newcastle Magistrates Court as well as the Bloemfontein Regional Court in relation to his calls for the illegal occupation of land.

Mpya believes the unit will go a long way towards fighting and preventing illegal land occupations, however the EFF's leader in Ekurhuleni, Mampuru Mampuru, said the unit was just a waste of money.

"I was even telling [Mayor] Masina about that thing. He is launching a security force to come and sweep our people," he told News24.

Mampuru said people had run out of patience on the land issue.

"Now our people are aware of what needs to happen, the issue of land is no longer rhetoric but a programme of what needs to happen. People are saying it's land or nothing," said Mampuru.

Occupations backed by 'research'

The EFF regional leader said he told Masina that he should visit those who had occupied land and pledge his support instead of putting together a unit to get rid of them.

He also claimed people were putting a lot of thought into the land they targeted for illegal occupation.

"Our people do their own research, check who owns the land and why they own it, if they bought it who did they buy it from and even the person it was purchased from, where did he get the land?" said Mampuru

He said people were promised land and they would occupy it.

"Our people don't believe in rhetoric, they are saying whatever it is our leaders are saying, let's put it to practice," said Mampuru.

Mpya said the city was currently dealing with the logistics of how the land invasion unit would work.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  housing  |  land  |  service delivery

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.