Municipal land also targeted for invasion

Scores of Copesville and Haniville residents barricaded roads in protest of lack of service delivery and anti-land invasion units evicting residents occupying vacant municipal sites.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Msunduzi Municipality anti-land invasion units and SAPS made their way to the site where tensions rose, resulting in the crowd being dispersed.
An anti-land invasion officer on the scene said they were alerted by members of the public that residents were marking plots using red tape, paint and bottles.
After being dispersed in the morning, some residents returned to the site in the afternoon stating that they have grown impatient with municipality’s housing department.
“We have been promised housing since 1994. We are almost 25 years into democracy but don’t have basic housing. Let us occupy the land and we will build houses ourselves since government is failing us,” said Copesville resident Noncebo Langa.
Ward 29 councillor Siphamandla Madlala cautioned residents not to occupy vacant municipal land as a criminal act. He further noted that community leaders are aware of the resident’s frustrations but protocol should be followed.
“Members of the community can be arrested for such activities. I have received calls that more vacant sites will be invaded which should be stopped before it happens,” said Madlala. “The ward has a population of 19 000 residents. It’s true the project won’t benefit all of them. That doesn’t mean that people should invade land. Invasion is against the law. They will be arrested.”
Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, condemned the invasion and stated the land is earmarked for housing development projected to start in 2019. Mafumbatha says the municipality plans to build 1 176 houses for some residents of the 19 000 population of ward 29.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

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