The Guard

The Truth On Board

Municipality evictions stir hornet’s nest

By Libuseng Nyaka

QWAQWA – Residents of Bluegumbosch are spitting fire following the selective demolition of structures belonging to people who had purchased pieces of land from traditional leaders.

The demolition saw occupants losing foundations, shacks and fencing poles. This came however the executive of Maluti-a-Phofung Gilbert Mokotso has since made a reassurance that residents who had purchased land from traditional leaders will not be evicted.

Mokotso somersaulted and insisted that the land belongs to the municipality and that repayment arrangements will be made on how municipality will be paid according to its rates.
He said the municipality does not tolerate land evasion and that this will apply to those who have exceeded boundaries agreed by traditional leaders and municipality.

“The land belongs to the municipality. We have also set boundaries which the traditional leaders should not exceed. We do not tolerate land evasion. We had to send our officers to prevent residents from encroaching on land where municipalities had already put its own boundaries and markings,” Mokotso said.

His sentiments were shared by a representative of the traditional leaders Sam Madikela during a hearing held at the sites following the demolition of structures by the municipality.

“Those who are in possession of a Permission To Occupy (PTO) acquired from us will be protected and will not be evicted. We have already discussed this matter with the executive mayor and have agreed that we must not exceed his markings.

“During our engagement with the mayor, I gathered people who have been allocated sites told them they will not be evicted, only those who have exceeded the boundaries that we have agreed upon. “
The aggrieved occupants whose foundations and structures were demolished claimed their properties were stolen by municipal officials. They expressed shock at the manner in which their properties were destroyed, leaving out those who are allegedly close to the officials.

“It is heartbreaking when you see your hard earned money destroyed when another stricture next to you left intact. We wonder what the instruction was. There is something fishy here,” Buyile Mthembu said.

Mthembu said all she wants is to be compensated for the loss she suffered.
Sello Mmolotso, who has lost his bricks, said he would not give up without a fight.
“We were there during the meeting with the mayor when he promised not to go ahead with plans to evict people who have already occupied the sites, except those who have exceeded his boundaries that are earmarked for the use of municipality. We are now in a dilemma. Do we continue with the building or what.”

Meanwhile, EFF member of Map council Chikota Mkhwanazi who also took part in the meeting, threatened to take the municipality to court over the matter, arguing that proper processes were not followed before effecting the demolition.

“We are taking this matter to the Bloemfontein high court. How do you destroy people‘s property in the name of eviction without following the law. Firstly, people must be warned by letters which must be followed by public hearings for engagement purposes. When all these do not work, then the municipality must approach the court for an eviction order.”
Mkhwanazi also vowed to take the matter to the council sitting.

“In our next council sitting I am going to table this matter and no other item will pass before this one is addressed.”
Mkhwanazi hinted that there was corruption at play, with certain people looking to enrich themselves.

“If the land belongs to the municipality, then the municipality should have engaged the traditional leaders who have been allocating the sites rather destroying people’s hard earned property. We have asked the municipality to release residential sites to the people. We even supported the budget vote on condition that the municipal was going to give people sites, which is the cornerstone of our policy.”