Pretoria - Property owners have urged the City of Tshwane to continue confronting land invaders and removing them from privately-owned land before they have made themselves comfortable.
This comes after the City enforced a court order to remove illegal recyclers in Centurion and a group of people who were shack farming in Booysens, Pretoria West.
This comes after the City successfully implemented an eviction order along with the affected private property owners concerning illegal land invasions near SuperSport Park.
“The privately-owned site had been invaded and was being used by individuals for informal waste recycling. The occupiers of the site have since been removed and the private landowner has committed to ensuring that the site will immediately undergo a thorough cleaning process, including the removal of waste to ensure that the area is restored back to its natural state,“ mayor Randall Williams said.
“It is now the duty of the private landowner to properly safeguard this property and ensure that it is protected. The clearing of the site will also improve the conditions for nearby communities and prevent further pollution of the Hennops River," he added.
Regarding Booysens, the City Anti-Land Invasion Unit demolished eight illegal structures that were illegally constructed, which they said were clearly aimed at attempting to encroach on public land through shack farming.
Resident David Katse said: “The problem with land invasions is (that) they provide a safe haven for criminals because they can hide from the police. It is the residents from the suburbs near them who suffer.”
Another person who only identified himself as Thabo asked: “Is illegal land invasion a menace only to suburbs? In Mabopane, literally all empty spaces have been invaded by scrapyards fed by the increasing demand for nyaope and other drugs. Housebreaking is on the increase as a result. Where do we report this problem?”
However, Leroy Thompson said: “I feel this is unethical. The people already do not have food, jobs, and we are facing Covid-19. It is December. It’s not like they went to stay there because they have houses; that is all they had.” But he was accused of promoting lawlessness by other residents.
Some people said they wished the City could clear the shacks at the corner of Delmas and Solomon Mahlangu, and Soshanguve near the train station.
Williams said: “The City of Tshwane has consistently taken a zero-tolerance approach to land invasions and will continue to implement or support the implementation of eviction orders against individuals who unlawfully occupy public land in all areas of the municipality.”
Williams said the City would continue to monitor vacant land areas to prevent and combat any unlawful land invasions. “Land invasions on private or public land erode the property rights of all residents in our city.”