EThekwini Municipality workers remove a structure that had been erected by land invaders in a nature reserve in New Germany yesterday. Bongani Mbatha Africa News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN - Land-grabbers who attempted to invade a nature reserve in New Germany last week have given the municipality about two weeks to give them a “clear way forward” on whether the area can be used to build homes.

The invaders met yesterday morning next to the reserve and resolved to halt land invasions pending “clarity” from government officials by April29.

They met alone without any representatives from the government.

Last week, about 300 community members invaded the Nqabeni Nature Reserve in New Germany over two days. They marked sites for building with plastic markers while one person built a structure made of wood and plastic. Those alleged to be behind the invasion are said to back-room dwellers in areas such as Clermont, KwaMashu, but it has also been alleged that some came in “fancy” cars from as far as Eshowe after hearing there was “free land” at the reserve.

Municipal workers removed the invaders and the markers that had been placed, and demolished the structure that had been built.

A community member who was part of the meeting said they had resolved that all land invasions in the area must be halted until April29, when they hoped government officials would address them.

“The position of the community is still clear, that we want houses. And we all agreed that no one should be building there until the meeting with the government officials to see what they have for us.”

Ward councillor Jabu Dlamini said she had been made aware of the community meeting, but could not attend.

“From previous engagements with the people involved in that issue, they informed me they saw the land as unused, and that they were desperate for land.

“We are discouraging land invasion and that is why we are consulting with the city on how it can help to resolve the matter.”

Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said they were not aware of the community’s meeting.

“But our position remains the same: where there is land invasion, we will act. It is our responsibility to maintain law and order,” he said.

THE MERCURY