Fresh land invasion in Estcourt

2010-01-02 00:00

THE repeated land invasions in Estcourt are an attempt by the African National Congress to undermine the Inkatha Freedom Party-led uMtshezi Municipality and cause instability in the community, Mayor Maliyakhe Shelembe charged yesterday after 121 families invaded municipal land at Papkuilsfontein.

The invasion follows one at Brewitt Park on Christmas Day. The invaders have since been removed from the area and the municipality applied for an interdict to stop them from trespassing.

Khawulani Mbele, one of yesterday’s land invaders, said they have no option but to seize the land as the municipality has rejected their applications for housing on the grounds that there is no land.

“We applied for the houses and we were told that there was no land available so they could not build us the RDP houses.”

He cited politics as the stumbling block to service delivery in the area. “The municipality is led by the IFP and this area is still deeply divided along party lines. If you are not affiliated with the IFP, you will not receive the services.”

However, Shelembe dismissed the accusations, saying “agents” of the ANC are promoting land grabs in the area to destabilise the municipality so they can take it over.

“The ANC is not happy that the municipality is being run by the IFP so they are doing everything to try and destabilise it. The people who are going around claiming land are not landless people, but people with their own houses and professional jobs; some are councillors and others are teachers.”

He rejected the allegation that service delivery is divided along partisan lines. “With the housing project, the names are registered and sent to the provincial department. It is they who reject and approve the names.”

Shelembe said he is disappointed at what is happening in Estcourt and that, despite the calm in the area and in the municipality between the two parties, it is clear that the ANC is busy with “underground” activities to topple the IFP.

An ANC councillor in the area, Vahed Dawood, blamed the IFP for the problems, but conceded that the land invaders are telling “half- truths” about their motivations.

“The service delivery in this area is still deeply ingrained along party lines,” he said.

Municipal manager Nonhlanhla Njoko warned that land invasion will not be tolerated. “The law does not allow for land invasions, and those who do it will be dealt with accordingly.”

Njoko urged those who are dissatisfied with the housing project to raise their objections with the municipality.

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