Picture: Danie Van der Lith
Kimberley – Residents at the Homevale informal settlement have claimed that they were made to pay bribes in order to secure land to build their shacks.

The municipality has made provision for 100 sites to be allocated for occupation by Homevale and Santa residents, while residents complained that about 17 illegal occupants from other areas had invaded the land over the weekend and erected shanties.

According to an affidavit, some occupants were forced to pay the shanty committee R250 for a single plot.

Leeza Lafoy, from the shanty committee, on Wednesday denied that any committee member had received any money in exchange for land.

“We will form part of the verification process that will be conducted by the municipality. We are all prepared to undergo polygraph tests because not one of us took any money from anyone. I do not know where or why the allegations surfaced, as it has been coming on for a long while. Some people made up stories that they paid R2 000 for a plot, which is untrue. Anyone who wishes to investigate us, is welcome to do so,” said Lafoy.

She added that while they wanted to accommodate everyone, it was an impossible task as there are only 31 allocated plots for Ward 3.

“It is unfair to accuse us of wrongdoing when we are here to assist the process to operate smoothly. There are many people who are unhappy with the selection process. There will be more development in the future so we are hoping to assist more land applicants. Unfortunately the process does take some time and people are becoming impatient waiting for land.”

Lafoy indicated that the fire brigade had held a fire awareness programme on Wednesday to educate residents about the dangers of fires as they made use of candles and gas stoves in the absence of electricity.

Spokesperson in the Office of the Mayor, Gregory Seleke, stated that they were busy with investigations into the allegations regarding illegal occupation of the land.

“We have not received any affidavits pertaining to the sale of land. The housing unit is in the process of investigating and will conduct a verification process to determine if there are any illegal occupants on the land,” said Seleke.

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