Government officials involved in land invasions

Government officials involved in land invasions

The Free State province has recently been experiencing a surge in illegal land grabs, including in its sole metro, Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM). The land invasion is phenomenon is attributed to the slow pace of municipalities to allocate land for people.

Though there is a genuine need for land, and most people claim that they have been waiting for far too long to be allocated sites by municipalities and they have now lost their patience and are invading whatever land available. There are officials who see an opportunity to make money from the crisis of the poor.

It has now emerged that, there are officials who are taking advantage of the situation. When people invade the open spaces; according to the Free State province Premier Mr Mxolisi Dukwana, the government officials, who earn a good salary and have property, also invade land and occupy about four sites with the purpose to rent it out to other people.

The irony in this is that, the residents who occupy the vacant land are actually running away from pay rent where they stay and want their own property. They say they no longer can afford to pay rent as things are getting more expensive and they want property that they can leave as an inheritance for their descendants.

“There are officials of government, who have sites in the invaded lands, they are selling them. The land is not theirs. They just occupy space and then sell it. They know the pain that the people are going through who have no land, they have a house; and there are about hundred people who have nothing but they go and take four sites because they can, and then hire them out; we can’t do this,” said Dukwana.

Dukwana condemned the behaviour of the officials saying it is inhuman during his address at the launch of the Botshabelo Industrial Pak refurbishment.

Recently, residents in Bloemfontein invaded land in the Southern suburbs in Lourier Park, a Democratic Alliance (DA) led ward, the people claimed that four Councillors told them to occupy the land. However, the venture ended badly for the landless as the local residents retaliated to the land invasion, and the municipality obtained a court interdict to stop the invasion and remove the people from the land.

Mangaung took its time to implement the court order and the DA applied for a court order to force the municipality to implement the interdict. The Municipal Manager Mr. Sello More explained at the time that the delay was due to a consultation process. But eventually law enforcement and the Red Ants were deployed to evict the people from the land. It was a sad state of affairs when people who have spent their last to erect shacks were forcefully removed.

The municipality has since condemned the land invasion including other illegal land grabs taking place across the City.

The DA claimed that the invasion was a political ploy to discredit and destabilise the opposition party ahead of the national and provincial elections. The poverty of people at times is but a chess prop in the hands of politicians and government officials waiting to make the right move to catch their opponents on check mate at a calculated time.

The Business Weekly sent an inquiry to the ANC in Free State regarding the four Councillors who convinced people to invade land and whether they will be facing any discipline following their actions, to date, the ruling party is yet to respond.


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