EFF councillor to lead land grab in Disteneng

POLOKWANE – Meyer, in a telephonic interview on Tuesday said, he is not,however, responding as an EFF member, but in his personal capacity when he will do so.

Meyer added people will occupy land and “we (EFF) will have no say in what they do”.

“We will be arrested, that is a fact,” he said. “I am ready to lead when land is occupied. It is not going to end nicely,” he said. He added there was no problems when people were evicted from Disteneng as he asked them not to make trouble.

Meyer maintained the municipality had not lent him an ear when he on 18 July made a written request to the municipality to put the eviction on hold for 14 days.

Read more on Len: A rebel with a cause

“A letter in response to my request was only sent on 25 July, when the evictions were already done, stating the municipality cannot accede to the request since the project of Disteneng has already commenced and the municipality was implementing a court order. I also delivered a second letter, on the letterhead of the EFF, to the municipality to ask for the postponement of 14 days on 24 July, but I was not informed about the forthcoming eviction taking place the next day, even though I was told there was to be a meeting about Disteneng and I would be informed about the outcomes thereof.”

He said the municipality acted upon apartheids-era eviction legislation and said they should have seen to it that evictees had an alternative place to stay. Unlawful occupiers, as contemplated in the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and the Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (enacted long after Apartheid, in 1998) however states that such a person may be evicted in terms of a court order. Eviction other than that in terms of a court order constitutes a criminal offence for which the owner could face a prison sentence if convicted.

Meyer said he had a meeting scheduled with Kgoshi Moloto last Thursday, which was unfortunately postponed, during which he wanted to ask for land on which the people of Disteneng could be settled.

Read more about the Land Act: The Land Act, explained

Municipal Spokesperson, Matshidiso Mothapo, last week told Review: “The Constitution indicates that everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing and that reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, must be used to achieve the progressive realisation of this right”. He said the municipality is upgrading informal settlements within its area of jurisdiction to a standard that will ultimately realise the constitutional mandate.

Mothapo said since 2005 the municipality has upgraded six informal settlements.

“The main reason to relocate and re-settle the residents is to improve their lives and living conditions. In 2016 it was reported that 95% of the relocation had been done, but that people had been moving back to the area after realising they either stay too far away from their jobs or from the city,” Mothapo said.
He added the municipality gave the illegal occupants notice to move but this fell on deaf ears and the municipality then decided to take action. “Some of the people did leave. We have allocated sites to the people who qualified and we had to remove the people who are occupying land illegally.”

The municipality enforced the court order to have the land vacated on Tuesday, 25 July.

Read more:
Disteneng is being monitored, says Muni
Muni gives Disteneng land invaders more time to relocate
[WATCH] Disteneng land invaders evicted

Mothapo said it was unfortunate that those who were evicted had nowhere to go, but the process of resettling residents was started and ran for a number of years and an agreement in terms of how the process of resettling would be done was entered into. That process had been done according to the agreement and unfortunately the municipality cannot provide for the people who moved to the area after the unlawful occupation took place.

nelie@nmgroup.co.za

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Nelie Erasmus

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