Panga man chases off MK vets

2019-07-03 16:14
Samson Mshengu (104) used a machete to chase away seven men who claimed to be MK war veterans after they threatened to take his house.

Samson Mshengu (104) used a machete to chase away seven men who claimed to be MK war veterans after they threatened to take his house. (Nompilo Kunene)

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A 104-year-old man used a machete to scare away Mkhonto weSizwe war veterans who threatened to take his house if he refused to show them his title deed on Monday.

Samson Mshengu, who lives on Boom Street with his grandchildren, told The Witness on Tuesday that he was fuming after about seven men threatened to take his home and give it to war veterans on Monday afternoon.

“I grabbed my machete and told them that I was not scared of them. I told them I would chop them up if they carried on threatening to take my house.”

Mshengu, who has lived at his Boom Street home between Peter Kerchhoff Street and West Street for the past 10 years, said he told the men that he was not going to show them any paperwork unless they produced a permit instructing him to show them his title deed.

“They said they were sent by the government, but I told them that I will not show them anything until they come with the police or produced a permit,” he said.

Mshengu said he did not appreciate being “threatened and intimidated” when the title deed of his home was in his name.

“They said they will come back with their managers and I told them that I will be ready for them. I am not scared of them,” he said.

Mshengu said the men had a small piece of paper with addresses written on it. He said before they left, they told him that they would also go to his next-door neighbour, which is a business.

Russell Ferguson, the owner of the Fine Air business next door to Mshengu’s home, was also left fuming after Mshengu told him about his encounter with the war veterans. “If they come up with R1,8 million to buy my property then they can have it, otherwise they must stop harassing us,” he said.

Ferguson said his greatest concern now was the safety of the women who manage his office and workshop at the Boom Street property.

A woman, who asked not to be named in fear of victimisation, told The Witness that on Monday morning about five men, who claimed to be MK veterans, had harassed her 62-year-old mother at her home in Hoosen Haffejee Street. She said the men asked her to show them paperwork that proved she was the rightful owner of her house and threatened that if she didn’t have proof of ownership, they would take her house.

The war veterans, who are demanding houses and other economic opportunities from municipalities, have 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 houses for them, hijacked 261 units at the flagship low-income Aloe Ridge housing complex.

Despite there being no electricity at the hijacked flats, the veterans, who are still in occupation, managed to connect the electricity. Some were alleged to be renting out the flats.

The Witness also reported that last week, the veterans had taken occupation of several houses in the city centre and tried to take over a shelter for abandoned children in Havelock Road.

Ivor Caldecott, CEO of Capital City Housing which is the company that owns Aloe Ridge, said despite their requests for government assistance and intervention, there has been none offered.

“The veterans continue to illegally occupy 261 units in the complex of 952 units. Our organisation continues to default on its loan with the National Housing Finance Corporation and the site is at risk of mortgage default proceedings should there be no solution to the crisis,” said Caldecott.

Menzi Mkhize, Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association’s (MKMVA) regional secretary, told The Witness on Monday that Msunduzi Municipality had given them a list of properties in the city centre promising they would be allocated to MK vets.

He said the members were probably going around to check if the properties on the list really belonged to the municipality and if they were occupied or not.

Mkhize advised residents to contact him directly if they were approached by people claiming to be MK war vets but refused to have his contact number published in the newspaper.

“Residents should not contact the police because we are exercising our rights by verifying the properties on the list,” he said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said depending on the incident, residents could open a case of intimidation, trespassing and even a case of masquerading as a government official as only government officials are allowed to ask for people to produce their title deeds.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mkhonto wesizwe
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