News / 14 November 2014, 11:43am / TANKISO MAKHETHA
Pretoria - The Nellmapius councillor whose house was ransacked after shacks erected on municipal land were demolished, said the “mindless looting” had left his family with nothing.
Precious Marole said this on Thursday at his home in the aftermath of the alleged EFF-led land grab that started on Monday and ended on Wednesday, with the group vandalising his home and making away with his belongings.
Marole said the problem began on Saturday when he was told that nine shacks had been erected on municipal land in his ward. “There are six shacks on that land that have always been there. The previous owner (of the land) left those people there and we know about them and the city has plans for them. The additional nine couldn’t be accounted for,” he said.
The councillor explained that he warned the squatters that he was forced to act after they refused to relocate and vacate the land. “I called the SAPS and the metro police and informed the city about what was happening. On Sunday, the EFF mobilised people and started building shacks on the land.”
Fast forward to Wednesday morning. After clashes between residents between metro police, Marole said he heard about the crowd’s intention to attack him.
The father of three lives less than 1km away from the disputed land.
“I made sure nobody was home and left. I was parked less than 2km away when they came to my house. They blocked all the streets leading to my house with rocks to block police from accessing my home,” he said.
Dumbstruck, Marole said he could only sit back helplessly while receiving messages from people telling him about what was happening. “I was just sitting in my car, unable to do anything to stop them from invading my home.
“I am heartbroken. My kids have been left with nothing while everything we worked for was taken,” he said.
On a tour of the looted house on Thursday, the only items remaining were beds and sofas.
Marole’s house was on Thursday under police surveillance to protect him and his family.
Police spokesman, Captain Johannes Maheso, said no arrests had been made at this stage nor have any items been recovered.
A crowd of fewer than 60 Nellmapius residents gathered near the site of the recent attempted land occupation on Thursday morning. They did not attempt to move on to the land as three metro police cars and a Nyala were on the scene to monitor the situation.
City of Tshwane spokesman Blessing Manale said the city was able to enforce an amended interdict obtained on April 30, which now included the piece of land in the troubled township.
The city acquired the interdict on Thursday, aimed at thwarting attempts to illegally invade the land owned by the municipality. However, residents who had occupied the land said they remained unfazed by the steps taken by the city.
EFF Nellmapius branch chairman Vusi Msiza said there was plenty of land to occupy, and if the Nellmapius piece of land was out of reach, they would simply move on.
“It won’t change anything. We’ll move to another piece of land and settle there. We can’t have people crammed up in small houses while councillors are selling low-cost houses and plots to their friends and families,” he said.
Msiza said residents had been told the city wanted to build low-cost houses but they wanted land so they could build their own homes. He said the EFF was not behind the land grab attempt but was merely supporting the community in their plight for shelter.