Residents want 300 land invaders in east of Pretoria removed
Pretoria - Scores of residents in Erasmuskloof in the east of Pretoria have launched a bid to remove an estimated 300 people, who have illegally occupied a piece of land on the corner of Delmas and Solomon Mahlangu roads.
Residents have initiated a petition as part of the efforts to put pressure on the City of Tshwane head administrator Mpho Nawa to act against the illegal land invaders.
On Wednesday, some DA members led by former party councillors Francois Bekker and Daryl Johnston, walked into Tshwane House to hand over the petition entailing 3 000 signatures to Nawa, who was unavailable.
They claimed that numerous efforts were previously made in vain to request Nawa to act against the invaders of land co-owned by the City of Tshwane and the Public Investment Corporation.
Contacted for comment, Nawa disputed claims he was always absent whenever former councillors wanted to speak to him.
"It is not true that they can't reach out to me. I have actually extended an invitation to all political parties to come and talk just to brief them about what is happening in the city and the challenges. But I think they have taken a political posture against us," he said.
Bekker, who was a ward 83 councillor, said those who signed the petition, shared the sentiment the invaders must be removed from the land.
He expressed concerns that the number of people illegally living on the land had doubled during the Covid-19 lockdown.
"They were about 100 to 150 people before the lockdown. We are now talking about 300 people. If we can't stop it now that 300 will increase to 600 and very soon we will have another Plastic View," Bekker said.
"The informal settlement was getting totally out of control. The metro police don't act on the matter and it is really getting out of hand," he said.
Nawa was given a seven-day ultimatum to respond to the petition by indicating the steps he will be taking to move the vagrants from the land and secure the property.
Both Bekker and Johnston said Nawa needed to furnish them with a detailed plan entailing a clear timeline regarding the addressing of the problem.
In a joint statement, they said:"The huge piece of land on the said area poses a threat due to the fact that the size of land in question will, if not secured, provide enough space for a second Plastic View informal settlement accompanied with all the socio-economic challenges that will lead to uncontrollable pollution and severe crime levels."
Regarding illegal land invasions across the city, Nawa said: "We have done our best to get the police to assist us. We have met with the provincial government to help us. Every case of illegal land invasion we hear we react on."
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