Houses built in non-residential area

PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe area beyond the river in KwaMachibisa where people live on land that is not for residential use.
PHOTO: Makhosandile zuluThe area beyond the river in KwaMachibisa where people live on land that is not for residential use.

IN KwaMachibisa, Ward 22, behind Mthethomusa Primary School, people have built houses and others are building on land that has not be zoned for residential use.

A resident, who refused to divulge her name, who is building a house on the land, claims she bought a plot from a ward committee member for R5 000.

“We were told [then] that the councillor is the one who gave out land.”

This apparently took place in April and no talk about the provision of basic services and title deeds were ever mentioned.

The area’s current councillor, Xolani Ngongoma confirmed that the area has not been zoned by the municipality for building houses.

He said the previous councillor had given a man from unit 3 and a woman permission to build in that area. He said the plan, however, was that since the Edendale Mall had been built where the area’s sportsfield used to be, the area in question would then be used to build a sports centre.

Ngongoma said during the chaos leading to local government elections last year people started invading the land. He said once people had built in the area­ their identity details were taken down for record- keeping with the intention that they would be relocated should a housing project come up. “People building in that area have not been granted permission to do so,” the councillor said. He said he cannot confirm or deny allegations that a ward committee member sold land for R5 000 because no member of the community­ has approached him and informed him about such an allegation. Ngongoma said it is difficult to even speculate who the member is because when it comes to people wanting to buy land, those are issues that pass through the entire ward committee.

The councillor said it would be difficult to provide water, sanitation and electricity in the said area because it is not zoned as residential area and providing those services would amount to wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

“I would say the relocation of people living in that area needs to be addressed urgently,” Ngongoma said.

He urged the municipality to strengthen law enforcement specifically dealing with land invasion The councillor said on Saturday the Department of Human Settlement launched an urban network hub, a R1.5 billion project that will take five years to finish and will include a housing project and the relocation of people in certain parts of Ward 22 where the network is to be constructed.

There are concerns that the area behind the primary school could be a wetland and some residents have built houses on a floodplain and so their homes are at risk of being flooded should the nearby river flood.
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