Evictions lead to land grabs

POLOKWANE – Westenburg Police Spokesperson, Sgt Mpandi Nkuna, said the moving of illegal residents onto the open land went smoothly and that the people started putting up structures by late Monday afternoon.

“The situation is calm but the police are on standby as we expect that as soon as the municipality takes the matter further we will see some conflict, but so far all has been calm and peaceful,” he said.

The land grabs started early on Monday morning after illegal residents were removed from the now established township of Disteneng almost two weeks ago.

Read more: Disteneng is being monitored, says Muni

Polokwane Municipality Spokesperson, Matshidiso Mothapo, confirmed the land the illegal residents were now occupying, belongs to the municipality.

“The municipality is aware of the land invasion and will take action to bring the situation under control. This is illegal occupation of land and the municipality strongly condemns such action where people invade other people’s property without consideration of the law. We strongly discourage the public to engage in such activities,” Mothapo said.

He added currently law enforcement is present to ensure the situation does not get violent and spiral out of control.

“We understand for economic reasons most people want to find themselves near the city in order to access opportunities. However, it is important that people are settled formally on fully serviced residential townships where they can enjoy dignified services like access to water, electricity and sanitation. The municipality is aware of housing challenges and has secured land for residential purposes. Polokwane residents who need housing are encouraged to register on the municipal housing database,” Mothapo added.

Len Meyer, an EFF councillor, was on the scene and spoke to Review on his involvement in the moving of the people to the new area they claimed for themselves.

Read more: EFF councillor to lead land grab in Disteneng

“These people came to me. They chose this piece of land and asked me to help them in their need of transport. I was in negotiations with another local chief for land for them but as they have nowhere to go they decided they want this piece of land and started moving in on the land, marking down their plots and setting up camp. I believe I will be arrested for my involvement but I cannot ignore the need of the people,” Meyer told Review.

One of the illegal invaders, Andiswa Lusinga, told Review that she marked out her plot and started setting up a structure she and her two children, aged three and seven, will call home.

“We will not fight unless we have to. I am a woman alone and cannot sleep in the street or in the open field, it is not safe. The government promises us houses that we never see so now we take land. They do not use it and we need it,” she told Review.

You might also want to read:
Muni gives Disteneng land invaders more time to relocate
[WATCH] Disteneng land invaders evicted

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Riana Joubert

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