Community leaders say Tshwane jumped gun when demolishing housing structures in Mabopane

Miranda Matlou next to her demolished structure on her land in Mabopane. Picture: Oupa Mokoena /African News Agency (ANA)

Miranda Matlou next to her demolished structure on her land in Mabopane. Picture: Oupa Mokoena /African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 23, 2023


Pretoria - The City of Tshwane jumped the gun when it demolished housing structures in Mabopane Block D belonging to homeowners who say they were given the land by the former Bophuthatswana homeland during apartheid.

This is according to community leaders Khutso Mafole and Khutso Jacobs.

The two went to the City’s Tshwane House headquarters to request a meeting “to educate officials on the history of the area and land”.

The City last week demolished homes and other structures, saying land invaders had refused to vacate the area when instructed to do so by authorities.

Community leaders Khutso Mafole and Khutso Jacobs outside Tshwane House, where they sought a meeting to discuss the Mabopane Block DD land. Picture: Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Among the victims was Miranda Matlou, who lost a wall and a gate during the demolition and eviction. She said she opened a case against the City, the Tshwane metro police Department and ward councillor Neo Tiragalo.

She was planning to take the City to court to sue for damages.

This claim was, however, rubbished by Tiragalo, who said people were now invading land. He said the land was given to them by the former homeland under the then presidency of Lucas Mangope.

He said the City had also opened a case against her because everything was done according to the book.

Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams encouraged people not to buy land from anyone to avoid incurring losses. He said people were establishing settlements in areas that were not feasible to service.

The evictions last week followed MMC for Human Settlements Kgosiemang Kgosietsile opening a case at the Mamelodi police station against land invaders.

He said the City was also going to pursue criminal action in order to send a strong message.

Mafole said Kgosietsile and Tiragalo did not understand the history of the area. He wanted to explain to them that “just because an area and its people were transferred to the City, this did not mean that whatever agreements were in place back then fall off”.

He said just because the land comprised only trees and undeveloped land, it did not mean it did not belong to any other entity.

Tiragalo said: “I do not know what those people are talking about, because they are not telling people the truth. That land belongs to the City of Tshwane and was transferred to the City from the North West Housing Corporation on April 28, 2014.

“If they continue to be rebuilt, we will continue to demolish. The City did everything by the book. We knew about them, but the City took its time so that it took legal action. They built an office there and are starting to sell stands to people for R23 000.

“Matlou is also not honest. There are about 20 houses on the outline street, so why would Bophuthatswana give her permission to extend and not others? It is fine if she opens a case against me. That on its own shows she does not know how things work. The case should be against the City.”

The City would not allow people to build a settlement in the area because soon there would be service delivery protests that would disturb the peace.

Pretoria News