The family in this Wyebank home is living in fear after a land invasion. The owner says he has had no success in receiving help from the police or eThekwini Municipality. Meanwhile, parts of his home have been damaged or stolen. GCINA NDWALANE African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - A Wyebank family is living in fear after land invaders built and moved into six informal dwellings on their property last week.

Gopaul Pillay, of Dahlia Road, who lives on the 2.4hectare property, which belongs to his family, said he was considering selling his portion of the land as more than 20 people had moved in and were refusing to leave.

Pillay said he and his family had also been “left in the lurch” by authorities.

He said the informal dwellers damaged his home by stealing copper pipes and taps from his yard and had removed the wooden poles and fencing he had placed around the land for security.

“I paid about R40000 to put up poles and fencing around the area, but I see that they have removed it and used it to build the shacks. We do not feel safe and when we come home after work, we just lock everything up and stay indoors, fearful of what may happen to us,” he said.

Twenty-five years ago, Pillay built a home on the property as an investment for his family. He lives with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in a double-storey face-brick house.

He said at least 250 informal houses had been built on the property next to his land over the years, but last week the dwellers began encroaching on to his property.

“I approached the police and the land invasion unit but neither has been helpful. I was advised that the land invasion unit deals only with land invasions on government property and that I needed to approach the court for assistance,” he said.

Pillay said after liaising with his lawyers he found that approaching the court would be too costly.

“I went back to the police for assistance but again they were unhelpful. Eventually, a woman gave me a case number over the phone and said my case was registered and would be investigated.”

When The Mercury approached the police for comment, the provincial police media centre said it had checked the Pinetown and Hillcrest crime administration system and it appeared the case registered under the case number supplied was not related to the enquiry.

Pillay said he believed that the woman he spoke to at the police station may have given him a case number to pacify him and did not register the case accordingly.

“I really don’t know what to do now since the authorities can’t help me. Only part of the land belongs to me. The rest belongs to my wife’s siblings. They live elsewhere, so now it is my problem, and my biggest concern is that more shacks will be built and my family will never be safe in our home.”

Despite attempts by The Mercury to obtain comment from the eThekwini Municipality, no response had been received by the time of publishing.

The Mercury