Arrests after land grab

2017-05-01 12:00
Cars and members of the public on the stretch of land that has been invaded by land grabbers in Grange

Cars and members of the public on the stretch of land that has been invaded by land grabbers in Grange (Nompilo Kunene)

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Police arrested 11 people following the massive land invasions that started on Friday near Grange.

Land across wards 13, 23 and 24 was stormed by land grabbers who marked their plots with red tape on Friday.

The land grabbers invaded a stretch of land earmarked for the extension of Archie Gumede Road, to give access to the city’s new private hospital, Eden Gardens Hospital.

They also invaded the land opposite the Westgate social housing project, which was recently launched by President Jacob Zuma.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the 11 suspects, nine males and two females, would appear in court on Tuesday facing charges of land invasion.

Ward 23 councillor Dumisani Phungula said the city had an interim court interdict preventing people from invading the land, which he said has been earmarked for community projects.

“We will rely on law enforcement agents to enforce the interim interdict. We are hoping to get the final court order on Thursday which will give us powers to demolish those structures.”

Phungula said the problem of land invasions had been ongoing for about six years now.

“We would like to discourage people from doing this. We would also like to invite members of the public to give us names of the people who are illegally selling the land that belongs to the municipality.

“We are not going to allow anarchy. We are happy that there are people who have been arrested,” he said.

Phungula said land invasions were hindering service delivery and squeezing the city’s fiscus as the city was compelled to go to court.

“People are just building anywhere without knowing what are the city’s plans for that portion of land. All these people are not from this ward. You can see by the types of cars they are driving that these people are well off,” he said.

Ward 13 councillor Gladness Mncwango confirmed that areas in her ward such as Thornville, France and Murray Road had been affected, but referred all queries to Msunduzi Municipality.

Attempts to get comment from ward 24 councillor Prudence Msimango and Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful.

On Sunday when The Witness visited the area, police cars had blocked the road going into the area.

It is unclear how the Friday’s land invasions started.

A source said about 10 people had started it in the morning and more and more people joined in as the day progressed.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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