Land invaders erect new homes

2014-07-24 00:00

WARD 32 residents near Woodlands yesterday forged ahead with their plans take over the vacant land next to site 11 on the Otto’s Bluff road.

Close to 300 people from nearby informal settlements, including Site 11, Woodlands extension and Ghost Town, gathered at a site that is largely a forest at present.

They waited for a meeting with their councillor, Mary Schalkwyk, to discuss moving onto the land.

She apparently did not arrive.

Others took the decision upon themselves and started putting up wooden structures that would be their homes.

At least seven structures had gone up by 10 am yesterday. Others, carrying spades, hoes, shovels and pangas, began clearing up the vegetation.

By yesterday afternoon, some community members had ventured deep into the forest and were busy cutting down trees while others were starting fires to clear the vegetation and prepare for building.

One of the residents, who sat in front of his structure next to the main Otto’s Bluff road, hailed his new “neighbours” in a friendly manner. He said they all needed the land so they could build their own homes.

Yesterday afternoon, he was half way through building.

“I am tired of renting. I have to pay groceries, rent and transport to work every day and there is very little money left that I can send home. My child is in school and has all these school needs.”

A lone police vehicle came to patrol the area and parked there for a short while as the group continued to mark out plots and build homes.

The Witness reported that the people were chased away by municipal security earlier this week when they invaded the land.

The municipality and the councillor did not respond at the time of going to press.

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