Kokstad residents in land grab

2014-02-13 00:00

HUNDREDS of angry residents of Bhongweni township in Kokstad invaded farm land illegally yesterday, carrying spades and tape measures and dividing plots up for themselves.

Police and local councillors rushed to the farm to try and stop the land invasion.

Greater Kokstad Municipality Speaker Zolani Mhlongo said the farm was bought by the Land Affairs Department in partnership with Greater Kokstad Municipality for farming a few years back.

Tensions ran high after one of the ANC councillors convened another meeting just a few metres away where Greater Kokstad Municipality councillors and municipality officials met to try to defuse tensions.

Police rushed to the aid of councillor Phumzile Nocanda after he was surrounded by the angry residents who allegedly tried to attack him; he was forced to leave the farm with the residents shouting at him and calling him names.

Residents have accused the municipality councillors of building RDP houses and then handing them over to Lesotho nationals and people from the Eastern Cape.

The land invasion started yesterday morning after the community complained about the shortage of land on which to build their houses and corruption in the handing over of RDP houses to people in Kokstad.

Residents said they were taking back what was taken from them years ago by white people in Kokstad. They demanded the land, saying they would not participate in the forthcoming election if the municipality did not allow them to build their houses on the farm.

More than 100 people put their names on the list and started dividing the farm, which is adjacent to Bhongweni township, into small plots.

Mhlongo told residents that the land is reserved for farming, not houses. He said plans are going ahead to build 750 houses at Thafeni.

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