Man ordered to leave tribal land

2012-07-10 07:38

Pretoria - A Hazyview man who was paid R700 000 to leave tribal land earmarked for a luxury hotel complex next to the Kruger National Park is to be evicted, the North Gauteng High Court ruled on Monday.

It granted an urgent eviction order against 60-year-old Frank Mhlongo, three of his children and other "farmers", who forced their way onto the land and started erecting dwellings last week.

Judge Natvarial Ranchod ordered Mhlongo and the others to immediately vacate the property, to stop interfering with the developer's use of the land and to remove the structures they had erected.

They were also interdicted from having any contact with trustees of the local Hoxane tribe and inflicting any bodily or other harm on members of the tribe and employees of the developers, The Elephant Corporation (Pty) Ltd.

Fifty-year lease agreement

The police, sheriff of the high court and the security company employed by the developers were authorised to use force, if necessary, to get rid of the illegal occupants.

Peter Foaden, of the developers, said in an affidavit his company had in 2006, concluded a 50-year-lease agreement with the state, which holds the property in trust for the Hoxane tribe.

This was after the tribe agreed that the property would be developed to establish a hotel and a tented camp business from which the tribe would benefit and derive an income.

When a previous lease agreement was concluded in 1998, no one was living on the land, but when the developers took possession, Mhlongo had moved in and told them he would only leave once his crop had been harvested.

Even though the tribal chief confirmed that Mhlongo had never lived there and had moved in to opportunistically benefit from the land, he stayed put and even convinced other "farmers" to move in and act as a human buffer to his "strategic occupation".

In 2006, the developers obtained an eviction order against Mhlongo and the other farmers, but he left only after a group of locals marched on the area to evict him.

Goodwill payment of R700 000

Mhlongo was soon back, further delaying the development.

Foaden said even a ministerial inquiry, which found that Mhlongo had no claim to the property, could not shift him and the developers were eventually forced to pay R300 000 to 23 of the "farmers" and R700 000 to Mhlongo as a goodwill payment to ensure that they permanently left the land.

Although Mhlongo eventually moved out in 2009 and undertook not to occupy the property again, he first delivered a demand to the developers claiming that he had been promised "5% shares" and then forcibly invaded the land again last week.

Foaden said Mhlongo and his sons intimidated the guards who tried to stop them. They stormed at the manager of the security company with a shovel and tried to hit him, and backed off only when pepper spray was used.

One of his sons produced a firearm and threatened to kill the security guards.

The police stood idly by while all of this was happening, and later ordered the security company to leave the land.

  • francois.cronje.52 - 2012-07-10 07:52

    THIS IS GREAT NEWS!!!!!! There's a piece of land in Bantry Bay that I have had my eye on for a while. I'll be starting construction of my villa next week!!!

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-10 09:00

      Feel free to visit me a few metres away in Clifton. Unlike you, I'll take a nice big constructed mansion

      jonathan.meyer.140 - 2012-07-10 09:21

      and then get paid to leave. Sweet deal.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-07-10 09:26

      Too late. When driving pass you will see two sheets put up in an A form shape. It is not a shade cover for an ostrich nest. It is my new accommodation. Dont tell anyone. I need to stay another few weeks to become a legitimate settler. Just a pity I do not have power to charge this laptop.(it is nearly flat) I wonder that if I toi-toi, the musicality will install a power point.

  • brat.trap.7 - 2012-07-10 07:57

    People exploiting the PIE act again. In South Africa, if you have a have no means of paying rent nor repaying debts, nobody will arrest you for squatting on a piece of land/property. Even these big spending developers have to resort to bribes, i mean "goodwill" payments.

  • colin.chester1 - 2012-07-10 07:57

    We will whinge about the rights of people being evicted from "tribal land", and then in the same breath complain about the high rate of unemployment which a complex like this would help alleviate? Im sure in some parallel universe somewhere that makes perfect sense..

  • Peter - 2012-07-10 08:01

    Typical local inhabitant, must be ANC/ANCYL/Cosatu instigated - No right to it, but demands, and gets, money. There must be more to this story or the "goodwill" payment would not have been made.

  • badballie - 2012-07-10 08:01

    Well of course the Police stood idly by, the Police in this country are as corrupt if not worse than the ruling party.

  • wimpy.vanderwesthuizen - 2012-07-10 08:21

    one son produced a firearm, police stood idly by. Eish these brothers.

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-10 08:32

      Better than him producing "HIS SPEAR"for that they have some fear.

  • marie.delarey - 2012-07-10 08:38

    Ha ha ha this is so funny!!

  • Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-07-10 08:41

    wait till the dead of night and petrol bomb the area. they wont be back in a hurry!!!

  • triumphant.voice.58 - 2012-07-10 08:48

    With regards to the police, they come from the communities most affected by crime and injustice, why else would they become police officer. So when poor people suffer or endure hardships they can only identify with the poor. As in any case who wants to do the dirty work of a rich developer unless that are actually paying you to do so. My theory with the police is that at the moment they are facing a political dilema. They can uphold the law, but that can mean coming down on the wrong side of the winning outcome - ie no good deed goes unpunished. The support of the police has always been the political trunp card since their existance. Why do you think the Praetorian become the Emperors's 10 000 strong body guard when Roman law insisted that no armed Legion was allowed in the capital.

      melania.nel - 2012-07-10 10:04

      They were hardly protecting the pOor. R700000 is hardly poor. I have never seen that much money in my life. Ps. The rich developer is paying them. They pay half of their total income to the state, who in turn pays the police and gives them bonusses.

  • jan.human - 2012-07-10 08:51


  • Kevin - 2012-07-10 09:03

    What about a criminal prosecution for attempted assault, illegal firearm and extortion?

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-07-10 11:03

      Add bribery. The developer paid R700 000 to the squatter instead of hiring the red ants or calling the police and charging him for trespassing. It's was not due. It is therefore bribery.

  • motlatsi.moeketsi - 2012-07-10 09:15

    This story is ambiguous, how do you pay off individuals who have no claim to the land? Unless the developers and Mhlongo know something we dont.

      Press - 2012-07-10 09:35

      Well perhaps although the community that owns the land denied this as stated in the article. But the developer must certainly take Mholong to court to reclaim costs increases resuling from the delay's caused and they must also recover the "goodwill" he was paid as it clearly did not result in the agreed performance. Also the community must take Mhlongwas to court for similar lossess they suffered (probably through there share in the development and the direct lossess flowing from delayed employment opportunities for the community - a claim of perhaps 10 - 15 million against this aggressive self-serving individual ?

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-07-10 11:52

    This is actually pathetic... Paying someone who has illegally invaded the land to leave?!?! Really? I would have arrived with armed guards and a bulldozer and destroyed his crop and dwellings personally...

  • Philip Buys - 2012-07-10 12:41

    Its next to the game reserve. What do you not understand? Why did the developers feed the animals?

  • kathleen.whiteley.7 - 2012-07-10 16:44

    The police that stood by idly, are these the same ones who allowed the 11 awaiting trial prisoners to escape from Hazyview?

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