As land invasions increase politicians declare: KZN ‘not a banana republic’
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The most recent land-grab has taken place at the luxurious Palm Lakes Estate, just outside Ballito, where 15 hectares have been set upon by shack dwellers who claim the land was sold to them by a Zulu chief.
The invasion has been going on for the past three weeks, and has caused tensions between Indian and African communities.
DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said leaders of political parties needed to be more sensitive as to how their comments could be interpreted and that reckless statements could trigger this type of violence in communities.
“When you say you will expropriate land, people get excited, but the land will go to the State, not individuals and families. However, the impression has been created that individuals and families will get land.
“People are angry and want their land back. This issue must be dealt with sensitively as the country belongs to all who live in it... so black, white, Indian and coloured, we are all entitled to ownership of land in SA.”
Mncwango said the ANC had not performed a land audit or said how many people were entitled to land, but had gone ahead with promises and now “must take their medicine”.
“The ANC has set policies which are not creating peace but creating problems.”
IFP MPL Blessed Gwala said political parties had been reckless in dealing with a very sensitive issue.
“The president of the IFP went as far as proposing, before 1994, that there should be international mediation to deal with the issue of kingship and the land issue. Unfortunately, the ANC dealt with the policy in its own way and now the chickens have come home to roost.”
Gwala said it was up to the government to deal with the issue, but in a manner sensitive enough to account for the people and their emotions regarding land redistribution.
ANC KZN task team leaders Mike Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala were unavailable to answer questions this morning.
Meanwhile, greater KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu has lashed out at people who are invading land in his municipality by claiming to have been authorised to do so by a traditional leader.
Indians insist they bought the land before 1994.
Mthembu said: “That land does not belong to a traditional leader. Landowners have title deeds. Even if it was belonging to inkosi, inkosi cannot just allocate land to people without consulting the municipality, who has to provide services.”
He said traditional leaders attended council meetings, but none of them claimed to own the invaded land.
Last night there was a meeting between community members accused of land-grabbing, landowners and municipal officials to try to find a solution.
“The law must take its course because we are not a banana republic - we have a country with laws,” he said.
Those who had invaded the land said they had “paid” R50 to the unnamed traditional leader.
Mthembu accused people of misrepresenting the ANC’s resolution on land expropriation without compensation.
However, land-grabbers who refused to be identified or photographed, said their action had nothing to do with politics.
“We don’t know anything about ANC resolutions. All we know is that this is our land, and inkosi gave it to us, but Indians say this is their land.
“It cannot be correct that hundreds of Africans are without land just because of a few Indians,” said a man who was carrying a bush knife to clear what he claimed to be his plot.
An Indian man watched as groups of people armed with pangas went past his house. He also asked not to be named for fear of intimidation.
“Every day I see about 300 people working on that land, which belongs to Indian families. I am frightened that one day they will claim my house.
Wim Sak, chief executive officer of Royal Palm Property Holdings, said his company had planned to use the invaded land to extend the estate.
“The land will be worth R100million after we have developed it,” he said.