Mandla Nangalembe and Chief Leane Kekana say they have a title deed from the 1600s that allows them to build on land deemed today to not belong to them. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg - Mandla Nangalembe - the man accused of operating a syndicate that allows people illegally to build houses on government-owned land - has threatened to take his accusers to court.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has filed various criminal cases at the police against Nangalembe and his team, accusing them of encouraging people to build houses on land belonging to the municipality.

The municipality is also expected to announce a date when it would demolish the houses in Ironsyde/Debonaire Park near De Deur in the Vaal.

Some of the houses cost more than R1 million.

Municipal insiders say Nangalembe is the sole owner of a company, Builders Advancement Services, and its bank account is in his name.

It has been alleged that Nangalembe and his team identified state-owned land in various areas that they would sell to potential homeowners for amounts ranging between R80 000 and R120 000 a single stand.

After securing the stand, Nangalembe would allegedly assist the potential homeowner to secure a building plan, buy material and get a property developer to build the house.

The proud homeowners would then be indebted to Builders Advancement Services, and pay money into Nangalembe’s company account.

Nangalembe and his team would then give the illegal homeowners access to basic services such as water and electricity, illegally.

Nangalembe has denied the allegations against him.

He spoke to The Star accompanied by Chief Leane Kekana of the Batlokwa Tribal Authority.

Nangalembe and Kekana said their paramount chief, Mogale, was in possession of a title deed dating from the 1600s proving that the land belonged to the Batlokwa.

“The entire land in Gauteng… and parts of the Free State and Eastern Cape belong to the Batlokwa Tribal Authority. These also include the area of Wildebeesfontein, where these people build their houses,” said Kekana.

He said they were prepared to defend their land claim before an international court.

Nangalembe said the land in dispute was given to the Wildebeesfontein Evaton Community Organisation by Elizabeth Frances Ligerhood Adams, who gave it back to the authority in the 1800s. He claimed the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform was aware of their ownership to the land, a claim the department has denied.

Nangalembe denied that the occupiers had paid between R80 000 and R120 000 into his company’s bank account for land. The land had been given back to its original owners for free, he said.

“The people are only paying a registration fee and make several contributions to assist us to fight legal cases like the proposed demolition of the houses. We give them land for free.

“The municipality would then give them permission to build and afterwards the same municipality would install prepaid meters in some of the houses and shacks. The people would also pay services to the municipality on a monthly basis,” Nangalembe said.

Emfuleni municipality spokesman Klaas Mofomme dismissed Nangalembe’s claims that the municipality gave the occupiers permission to build and that it had installed prepaid meters in some of the dwellings.

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The Star