Cornubia invaded, residents terrified

2016-02-04 06:00
Hundreds of people, who went to Cornubia to illegally invade homes, were caught on camera by a resident. Photo: supplied

Hundreds of people, who went to Cornubia to illegally invade homes, were caught on camera by a resident. Photo: supplied

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THE Cornubia Housing Project was invaded by over 200 people on Saturday morning who broke into vacant homes that are still being developed and claimed them as their own by writing their names on the doors.

The group was eventually removed by police who had to use rubber bullets to clear the area of the invaders who have threatened to return on Monday to burn down the development if they don’t get houses.

According to a witness and resident at the development, taxis and buses arrived­ from Newlands with around 150 women and 50 men who broke down the doors to the vacant units.

“They went straight to the houses - we didn’t know what was happening until they started asking us how we got our houses,” said the resident.

“They went inside the houses and wrote their names on the entrances or wrote ‘taken’ and started to hang up curtains.”

She said when she was questioned and she explained that she had been living­ in a shack for many years and then got a house, the invaders said they were promised houses and were renting in Newlands.

“They were complaining that all their money goes on rent and they are left with almost nothing to live on or buy food. We were scared because they were angry with the municipality and told us they were promised houses, but nothing was given to them,” she said.

“They also asked why only black people and a handful of Indians are living­ here.”

She said residents at Cornubia are now worried because of the threat to burn down their houses.

eThekwini head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa said housing units were vandalised by the group and city officials addressed them about their concerns over the allocation process.

“They were later advised to vacate the area by police,” said Mthethwa.

Verulam SAPS communications officer­ Lieutenant Mark Prakasim said the invaders became unruly and began damaging the flats.

“Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and restore public order,” said Prakasim.

Prakasim said police are monitoring the area to ensure the group doesn’t return­ and there are no further incidents.

Security has been beefed up to ensure visibility and secure the Cornubia precinct said Mthethwa.

“Council has a zero tolerance approach to housing invasion and is committed to putting an end to this.”

Responding to questions about why only certain racial groups are given preference as invaders said, Mthethwa responded: “There are about 586 families living in Cornubia, which is KwaZulu-Natal’s largest mixed-use and mixed-income integrated human settlement. This project will ultimately provide 15 000 housing units for indigent beneficiaries.”

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