Chatsworth church land grab thwarted
Durban - DISCUSSIONS are under way to thwart attempts to invade a piece of land belonging to the Christian Revival Centre Church in Chatsworth.
Community activist Omi Nair said an attempted land invasion took place behind Marklands Secondary School and at Papaver Road over the weekend.
No trespassing signs erected by the church on Wednesday were stolen yesterday.
Nair said the problem started because the residents were told that the church was not giving the eThekwini Municipality permission to erect a substation for electrification to a place called Bagdad informal settlement. The miscommunication caused unease in the informal settlement.
On Wednesday, various role players met with representatives from the informal settlement to resolve the issue at the Chatsworth SAPS.
“The area requested is at the perimeter of the informal homes and the church wall. The municipality cannot erect the substation on that side where the houses are because there is no space,” Nair explained.
“We have been assured that should the invasion continue, the full might of the law will be used to arrest trespassers on private property,” Nair said.
Paul Lutchman, a trustee of the church, said they did not receive any notification and nor did anyone communicate with them from the settlement about the substation.
“We gave no permission to build a substation. We were not aware of the plan to build one. The four signs that were stolen cost R5 000. This is anarchy and lawlessness,” he said.
Ward Councillor Previn Vedan said a group of people cleared out sites on the private property. He said the community was upset that part of the land they are situated next to is owned by the church.
“As part of the electrification programme, the church needed to be consulted. The process had not taken place. The community felt like they would be left behind in terms of the electricity project. They wanted to allegedly grab land outside the wall. This could be an opportunistic element. We do not expect any further land invasion to take place, but if it does, there could be criminal elements involved,” Vedan said.
Nair said charges were opened at SAPS Chatsworth for trespassing, theft and another for inciting to occupy land. Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a case of land invasion was opened at Chatsworth SAPS.