MK vets hijack city houses

2019-07-01 15:11
 A file image of MK Vets.

A file image of MK Vets. ( mkhonto wesizwe)

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MK war veterans have hijacked several houses in central Pietermaritzburg and attempted to occupy a shelter for abandoned children in Havelock Road.

The war veterans arrived at a complex of three houses belonging to the Msunduzi Municipality in Havelock Road last Tuesday, and according to Pietermaritzburg child welfare director Julie Todd, they ordered staff to vacate the premises.

“We fear for the safety and security of the children as the invaders have already taken over one of the houses next to the shelter. We are not sure what will happen next,” she said.

The shelter, which is run by the iThemba Lethu Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) is one of several houses owned by the Msunduzi Municipality in the area.

Despite the fact that the hijacked houses, some of which the municipality has been renting out, had no electricity when the invaders moved in, Todd said she was surprised when power was suddenly restored at one the houses.

“I’m not sure whether it is municipal officials who have reconnected the electricity or the invaders connected it illegally.

“Our other concern is that despite the municipality having been notified about the invasion, no action had been taken,” she said.

The war veterans, who are demanding houses and other economic opportunities from municipalities, had been staging sit-ins at various government facilities, as well as the ANC regional offices in Hoosen Haffejee Street.

Early last year, the war veterans, who have been accusing the government of reneging on its promise to build them houses, hijacked scores of flats at the flagship low-income Aloe Ridge housing complex.

Despite there being no electricity at the hijacked flats, the war veterans, who are still in occupation, managed to connect the electricity.

The Moses Mabhida war veterans regional leadership said it did not have full details around the latest invasions.

“What we do know, however, is that the municipality had identified a number of houses in that area, some of which were vacant, for allocation to the war vets,” Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) regional secretary Menzi Mkhize said.

Mkhize said the three houses in Havelock Road were not among the properties the municipality has earmarked for the war veterans.

“If those people who are occupying houses in Havelock are genuine MKMVA members then they should know that what they are doing is wrong as the three houses in question are not part of the houses which the municipalities had promised,” he said.

“Despite identifying a number of sites and houses which the municipality promised to give to soldiers, the soldiers have been waiting for years to be given the houses — this is one of the main reasons causing the confusion that we currently see,” he said.

Msunduzi said it was in the process of gathering facts around the latest invasions.

“We are currently making some enquiries,” Msunduzi Municipality’s acting spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo, said.

Meanwhile, the MKMVA regional leadership will on Monday meet Premier Sihle Zikalala to discuss matters surrounding ex-combatants in the region.

In his State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Friday, Premier Sihle Zikalala said the provincial government would be adopting a zero-tolerance approach to individuals invading land and State properties.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mkhonto wesizwe

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