'War against poor residents' - Illegal occupiers cry foul as Limpopo farm owner clears 'empty sites'

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A no trespassing sign.
A no trespassing sign.
Deon Raath, Gallo Images/Rapport
  • A group of people living illegally on a privately-owned farm outside Polokwane claim the owner has declared "war against the poor".
  • Blue Dot Properties has been in a long-running battle with a group of people who have occupied Portion 41 of Kalkfontein farm.
  • The community living on the farm claim Polokwane mayor Thembi Nkadimeng gave them permission to live on the land; something the mayor's office denies.

A group of people who have illegally occupied a piece of land outside Dalmada in Polokwane, Limpopo, have accused the private landowner of brutality through the demolition of their housing structures and vandalism of water sources in the area.

Tensions have been running high since June, when Blue Dot Properties moved to effect an eviction order issued by the Limpopo High Court after the residents who invaded Portion 41 of the farm Kalkfontein 1001LS in 2015 were declared illegal occupiers.

The portion of land has since been unofficially renamed Morena Seaka View by the people living there.

Rosinah Raophala Seemole, a spokesperson for the a resident's task team, said they occupied the land after receiving permission from the Morena Seaka Home Owners' Association (MSHOA).

"To everyone's shock, this brutal company that is at loggerheads with the Mojapelo clan over the piece of land, waited for this lockdown period to evict and demolish houses without following the proper channels available.

"This is a war against poor residents and it's clear that the company is using residents as scapegoats in their fight with the clan," Seemole said.

READ | Netting the big fish: Limpopo cops nab six suspects in multi-million rand land scam case

In 1996, the Mojapelo clan, through the Maboi 6 Community Trust, lodged a land claim for the entire Kalkfontein farm in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act. Parts of the farm were restored to different clans, except Portion 41.

In 2015, the Mojapelo clan "claimed" Portion 41 as its own, and through the MSHOA, started to demarcate residential sites which were sold to unsuspecting members of the public.

According to documents seen by News24, the sites were sold for R2 500 before the price shot up to R120 000 in 2019. The money was either paid in cash or deposited into an Absa bank account.

By the end of 2019, more than R3.8 million was deposited into the account.

Blue Dot has since obtained two court orders declaring that the residents must be evicted as they were occupying the land illegally.

Six people, including the association's leader, Ngwanamaredi Francina Sebati, who was also a senior member of the Mojapelo tribal authority, were arrested for allegedly selling the sites illegally.

They were each granted R3 500 bail by the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

But Seemole believed the residents of the area did not occupy the land, but inhabited it through permission from the association.

"The residents have engaged the municipality a thousand times, whereby executive mayor of Polokwane Thembi Nkadimeng visited the area with several leaders and vowed that the municipality has approved a budget to develop the area and [that] no one will be evicted.

"The residents had their own borehole, but the company has since cut connection, making it difficult for people to access running water in their homes. These evictions violate the Constitution, the law, and also the lockdown regulations," Seemole said.

However, Blue Dot attorney Floyd Legodi denied any houses were demolished in the area. He said the company was busy surveying the land for development and "we came across empty fenced sites and shacks that have to be removed".

"We have taken an empathetic approach to regularise their stay and they have to pay a market-related rate. If we wanted to evict them, we wouldn't need to be heavy-handed because there is an eviction order," Legodi said.

Municipal spokesperson Thipa Selala also rubbished claims that the executive mayor had promised residents services and secured tenure on the land.

"That is private land. If services have to be rendered by the municipality, then the owner has to apply to the municipality," Selala said.

He gave an example of another piece of occupied land known as Jujusville near Seshego, where the municipality declined to provide services because it was privately owned.

"Those people must just leave the mayor out of their issues," Selala said.

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