City slams Khayelitsha land invasion
HUNDREDS of informal settlement residents and people living in backyards have invaded land adjacent to Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha.
Police and city officials looked on as people came in numbers and marked out plots where they intended to build their houses.
The city has condemned the invasion and urged residents to report land invasions to the police and the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit.
Mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said: “The city cannot afford or tolerate land invasions.
“We condemn land invasions and the incitement to invade state or privately owned land in the strongest possible terms.”
Van Minnen said the land belonged to arms manufacturer Denel.
She blamed the EFF and Ses’khona Rights Movement group for the land occupation.
EFF MP Bernard Joseph and the party’s provincial spokesman Nazier Paulsen were both at the site and encouraged the invasion.
At one stage, Paulsen could be seen helping a man build his shack.
EFF T-shirts were distributed at the site.
Backyarder Sizakhele Ntonganto, 30, said he had invaded the land because many other people had done the same.
According to him, it was too expensive to rent space in a backyard.
“This new place that I can now call home is a fresh start for me,” he said, adding that if police destroyed his building material, he would invade the land again until they stopped.
“We have seen pieces of land being invaded in many parts of the province and numerous attempts by law enforcement to stop these needy people have not proved fruitful,” Ntonganto said.
He repeated that living with his wife and two children while he earned a “very low wage” meant renting as a backyarder was “beyond my means, I cannot afford it”.
He said he intended to build a three-bedroomed structure for his family on the plot he had marked out during the land occupation.
“The government must leave us alone,” Ntonganto said.
Paulsen said: “The land belongs to the people and the EFF supports these people to build houses here.”
The challenge, he said, was for the government to service the area with water, sanitation and electricity.
“If they want to remove the people from this land, they must provide alternative land. So what is the use of moving people from empty land and taking them to empty land? Pointless.”
Ses’khona Rights Movement spokesperson Sithembele Majova rejected Van Minnen’s accusation as “baseless”.
Ses’khona was not going to hide behind a mask if it was involved, Majova said.
“They must leave Ses’khona alone and deal with the EFF as Ses’khona is blamed for everything that goes wrong in this province,” said Majova.