Cato Crest community members invade a piece of land in the area, marking plots with red tape and digging trenches, in preparation to start building. File photo: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Friday raised their concern about the recent increase in land grabs around eThekwini that has seen large tracts of greenery being destroyed by people seeking land to build houses.

"We agree as the IFP that there is a dire shortage of houses all over the province and people are becoming impatient after decades of unfulfilled promises by government to provide decent housing. In their desperation for land, people have resorted to occupying any vacant land that they can find and in the process they are destroying nature reserves and much of the greenery around eThekwini," IFP KZN spokesperson on Environmental Affairs Les Govender said.

He said recently a group of people were busy cutting down trees on a large tract of wooded land on Mary Thiphe Road in Cato Manor. 

"This area was noted for its green environment and lush surroundings and it is extremely sad to see all of this being destroyed. Such incidents are occurring all around the city with no will on the part of the city officials to end such destruction of the environment," said Govender.

"Whilst our country is a signatory to international protocols to protect the environment and prevent global warming, our government appears to lack the will to prevent this wanton destruction of long-established greenbelts around the city. Citizens are often encouraged to plant trees and conserve our natural resources but government is failing in its responsibility to care for the environment."

Govender said in the interest of protecting the environment and conserving natural resources, the IFP urged government to act swiftly to identify land that was suitable for housing as this will stop people from taking matters into their own hands and causing more damage to the environment.

African News Agency (ANA)