City knocks down ‘land invader’ garden

2019-10-25 15:07
Msunduzi has ripped up a small garden which was maintained by a Northdale pensioner couple. Pictured is resident Govindamah Pillay. PHOTO: KERUSHUN PILLAY

Msunduzi has ripped up a small garden which was maintained by a Northdale pensioner couple. Pictured is resident Govindamah Pillay. PHOTO: KERUSHUN PILLAY

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While Msunduzi leaves the city’s verges untended, it sent the Anti-Land Invasion Unit in on Thursday to rip up a garden a Northdale couple had created in front of their property. 

The City on Thursday labelled the couple’s taking care of the garden as “land invasion”, and now a mangled palisade fence and crushed plants deface the area in front of the Bombay Road home.

The Anti-Land Invasion Unit acted despite Kumarason Pillay (74) claiming to have been given verbal assurance by the City that he was allowed to care for the garden. He has tried for years to formally “adopt” the spot, to no avail.

He erected the fence a few years ago to stop the plants being eaten by stray animals.

The City last month also tried to tear down the fence but were stopped when Pillay threatened to call the police, The Witness reported at the time.

Pillay, who has lived at the house for 47 years, had previously complained that other houses in the area had extended their homes in a way that encroaches on municipal land, but that his fence was not an extension of his own home, but rather just erected to “beautify” the area. He believed there must have been a personal motive behind Thursday’s action, underlining the fact that neighbouring properties were encroaching on the pavement yet the City has not acted against them.

A dejected Pillay told The Witness on Thursday that he had arrived home with his wife, Govindamah (67), on Thursday morning to find Msunduzi had already starting to “bulldoze” the garden.

“My wife needed to have her blood tested because she’s suffering with illness. The municipality was here, and before I could even ask what they were doing here they bulldozed it down.”

Pillay said he had to pay R2 000 to repair the part of the fence Msunduzi mangled last month. He said he will not pay to have the wreckage that now sits outside his house removed.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the couple had been notified that the fence was an invasion of land.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  land invasion
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