Land invaders in Tekwane West have been ordered by the court to stop construction on the municipality’s land.
The City of Mbombela Local Municipality (CMLM) recently approached the court after people started allocating land among themselves and proclaimed the section of Tekwane West as Nomzamo Park.
They now have a park in the area, have created roads and new structures and are demanding services from the municipality.
The land is owned by CMLM. Spokesman Joseph Ngala said the area was earmarked for Tekwane’s urban hub and the affected communities were informed through various means this was why they were taking the legal route.
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“This matter is currently in court for further processing. The City has sought legal relief on this matter so there is not much comment at this stage. Civic education is an ongoing matter and the City has always cautioned its residents about land invasion and continues to do so,” said Ngala.
According to one of the leaders of the land invaders, who does not want to reveal his name, they were not pleased that CMLM took the matter to court instead of approaching them, after they submitted a memorandum of demands.
“If we do not get the land we do not want the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in our community. We know now that we are approaching voting days and they will want to engage with us. No land, no IEC. We want this to go far – as far as the president of the country. We cannot pay for land that belongs to our parents, they were moved years ago,” he said.
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When Lowvelder visited the area there were new developments, although the leader claimed they were constructed before the court order.
“The court order from the municipality said we should not build anything and we stopped after we received it. Although we still meet during weekends. We did everything the right way and if they do not give us what we want we will escalate the matter.
“Community members do not like protesting, although they are forced by situations.”
In their memorandum the land invaders said they plan to develop unused land with their own budget through a registered trust account to finance infrastructure.
They aim to be the first group to expropriate land without compensation from the municipality.
“We are ready to start with construction. We just need them to provide us with the services and then we will do the rest. We want water and electricity. If it was not for of the delay by CMLM we would have started already,” he added.
Their demands included land for settlement, expropriation of land with lifetime compensation as tuition for service delivery, and title deeds.