Land occupiers and Lenasia residents clash

2019-05-14 13:10
JMPD officers removing a group of land invaders  in Lenasia South. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

JMPD officers removing a group of land invaders in Lenasia South. (Ntwaagae Seleka, News24)

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Gauteng police had to intervene on Tuesday morning as tensions rose over land occupations in Lenasia South, Extension 4.

In the morning, residents gathered to protest over the occupation of vacant property belonging to the provincial government. They accused the occupiers of affecting property values.

"I want to build my own house. I have voted and deserve to own a house. I can't wait and watch when people are taking land and build homes for their children. We are all South Africans and deserve to live in this country. I want a house," shouted Napo Noko.

Police got involved after the land occupiers rushed towards the protesters and demanded to know why they were not wanted in the area. 

Clashes

One of the land occupiers told News24 that no one would stop her from building her house.

"This is my country too. During the election campaigns, we were promised that where we see a piece of land, we must occupy it and no one will remove us. Elections are over and we are taking what we were promised. We are not building shacks here. I can't wait for an RDP house while I can afford to build my own house," said Thembi Vilakazi.

There were also clashes on Monday, as residents fought with the land occupiers who tried to occupy a piece of land near the civic centre.

Ward councillor Vinay Choonie said service delivery in the area was affected by the land occupations because the area was plagued by constant water shortages and electricity outings. 

"About 90% of government land has been illegally occupied. I have written to Premier David Makhura and President Cyril Ramaphosa complaining about this matter. We have a syndicate that is illegally selling land to outsiders to come and occupy land here. We have SAPS and JMPD officers, City of Johannesburg and other government officials who have invaded land and built huge houses," said Choonie.

Also read: Strand property owners protest against land occupation

He said the land occupiers also illegally connected pipes to the sewerage system without following municipal laws.

"One occupier has built a 23-bedroom hotel in our area. Some landlords are renting out their illegal houses and come and collect money every month. Others are buying land from a syndicate. Since they have invaded land, we have a serious problem of illegal dumping in the area. They are aware that the municipality will not offer services to them and they dump everywhere."

No arrests

Businessman and philanthropist, Rakesh Daya, who was part of Tuesday's protest, is against land invasions.

He said he pays monthly services and is calling on the government to take action.

"They steal water and lights. They have also occupied land earmarked for businesses, housing and recreational purposes. Crime is escalating since they have arrived and the majority of them are not from Lenasia South. Why can't they occupy land from where they came from?" he asked.

"Corporate business will never come and invest here. There are plans in the pipeline to build a mall in our area. Who is going to build a mall in a place where there is no law and order? Service delivery is affected severely. Property value is going down significantly and more people are selling their houses fearing that," said Daya.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Khalipha Mvula said they have opened a case of public violence and no one has been arrested.

Mvula promised to continue to monitor the situation.

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Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  housing  |  land  |  service delivery
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