eThekwini says third force behind increased land invasions in Durban
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eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela warned that invasions could increase in the lead-up to the general elections.
He was speaking to The Mercury following incidents of land invasion in Cato Crest, an area that borders Manor Gardens and Mayville.
In the past week, at least 13 shacks have been erected in Cato Crest. The recent invasion, coupled with violent protests on Mary Thiphe Road, have forced residents to pack up and sell their homes.
Mayisela said the city had to spend money on resources because of those who broke the law.
“You find that these people come from other parts of the province and country and want to build homes. They end up taking private land or municipal land that has been earmarked for other projects. The economic conditions are just not suitable for them.”
Mayisela said there were organisations and political parties that were encouraging lawlessness, and this posed a huge problem for residents, especially those in built-up areas who were then forced to sell their houses - sometimes at a big loss.
He said that while they were grateful to the city’s Land Invasion Unit for the work it did, it was unable to immediately attend to land grabs due to the rate at which these informal settlements were mushrooming.
“We need participation from the community. If residents notice shacks being erected, we need them to contact the land invasion unit so that the issue can be dealt with,” Mayisela said.
He added that the city had spent billions of rand building housing for people, but said that it appeared to be a moving target.
“We just cannot accommodate everyone, but we are trying our level best,” he said.
Mayisela said the issue of increasing the manpower of the land invasion unit remained a decision that needed to be made by the council.
On Wednesday, members of the unit accompanied by metro police demolished shacks in Cato Crest.
- THE MERCURY