Informal settlement houses demolished

2017-05-03 06:02
One of the houses that was destroyed in Mkondeni.PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

One of the houses that was destroyed in Mkondeni.PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

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INFORMAL settlement residents in Mkondeni were up in arms last week after a private company demolished houses it said were built illegally on privately owned land.

There was a heated exchange of words between the legal representatives of the private company and the residents, who said the “owners” of the land had no right to destroy their houses.

Resident Norman Gebashe demanded a stop to the demolition, saying their matter was before court.

“Our forefathers were buried here. These people tell us they bought the land, but we want to know from whom?

“This land belongs to our forefathers. They cannot just come and start destroying people’s houses. The court did not issue that directive, we are still waiting on the ruling regarding the issue of this land. We are not going to tolerate this,” he said.

The private company had to stop the process temporarily and fled the area in fear after community members started threatening TLB drivers who were hired to demolish the houses.

Gebashe said there was an ongoing court case between the residents and the company to fight the eviction.

“What is sad is we were not informed about the enforcement of the court order these people are talking about. These people just came here and started destroying houses without prior warning.

“There are people who will come back from work to find they have been left homeless because their homes have been destroyed. It’s not fair, they told us we can dig up the graves of our forefathers and take them with us.”

Legal representative for the private company, Michael Swanepoel of Grant and Swanepoel Attorneys, said they have a temporary court interdict that forbids residents from building in the area. “A notice was given for people not to build in the area. We only demolished new structures because they were built illegally with the eviction case still pending. They know they are not supposed to be building houses in the area.”

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