The Bonela suburb is experiencing an increase in land invasions and squatter settlements. Here a shack has built on Buckingham Road. Picture supplied

Durban -  A suburb in Cato Manor is under siege from land invasions that have left ratepayers frustrated. 

The community of Bonela are at their wits end as shack lords hone in on vacant land to erect informal homes which they give to people wanting accommodation in return for rent. 

Since Friday, a sprawling shack settlement spreading from Wiggins Road to the top of Blinkbonnie Road spread onto the roadside on Buckingham Road.

Community leaders and civic groups who did not want to be named because they have been intimidated several times by often violent shack lords said nothing was done from the onset to curb the settlement which spread from 35 shacks to more than 400 shacks. 

Residents protested outside the Durban High Court over the decision to allow the shacks to be built on the site.

In May, land grabbers began moving fences from the resident's properties in Carlow Road to built shacks. Homeowners who complain to the land invasion unit are threatened that their homes will be set alight. 

The eThekwini Human Settlements unit numbered 260 dwellings in December but expected the number to have increased. 

The settlement spreads on a greenbelt from Carlow/Wiggins Road to the top of Blinkbonnie Road and behind the back walls of 38 homes in Carnforth Avenue.

Msawakhe Mayisela,  eThekwini Municipality spokesperson, said the land occupied is owned by KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements (KZNDHS). 

Mayisela said the city was aware of rampant theft of electricity and water at the settlement. 

Mbulelo Baloyi, spokesperson for KZNDHS said the land was zoned open space. He said despite the presence of private security the settlement continued to densify. Baloyi pointed out that three security personnel were stabbed and assaulted in one incident and had to be removed from the area.

Daily News