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Illegal houses at cemetery knocked down

The Msunduzi Municipality’s land invasion unit conducted an operation to remove illegal structures in Azalea Cemetery. Photo: Facebook.

The Msunduzi Municipality’s land invasion unit conducted an operation to remove illegal structures in Azalea Cemetery. Photo: Facebook.

Published Apr 5, 2022

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A NUMBER of homes built on top of graves in the Azalea Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg were demolished by the Msunduzi Municipality’s land invasion unit.

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The Msunduzi Municipality’s land invasion unit conducted an operation to remove illegal structures in Azalea Cemetery. Photo: Facebook.

Alleged land grabbers were caught by surprise and some had to watch helplessly as backhoe tractors tore apart structures they had spent their hard-earned cash building illegally.

About 10 structures were demolished and the municipality said it would be keeping a close eye on the area to prevent any further mushrooming of illegal structures.

It explained in a statement that this was not the first time such an operation had been carried out and called on community members to stop building in the cemetery.

“The rate at which land invasions have grown within the jurisdiction of Msunduzi is very concerning, the municipality has been attending to land invasions in other areas such as Signal Hill, Masons, Copesville, Imbali and many other areas.

Some of these areas are earmarked for human settlements,” it said in the statement.

“The land invasion unit will monitor these areas to prevent any further attempts to occupy land unlawfully.” A concerned resident said the demolitions could have been avoided, and the money spent by the land grabbers should also be taken into consideration.

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“In some areas they are quick to stop the invaders, in others they wait for them to spend their last cent to demolish their structures. It is clear that people need land and some of these people pay as much as R30 000 to R50 000 for that stolen land,” he said.

The Msunduzi Municipality land invasion unit conducted an operation to remove illegal structures in Azalea Cemetery. Photo: Facebook.

“If it is really earmarked for social development, why don’t the municipality develop that land with structures with an aim to rate those people and sell the land for what they were willing to pay?” Thobekani Hlengwa told how his relatives had been shocked to find an illegal structure built on top of their parent’s grave.

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“Last month, my cousin went to this cemetery to clean her mom’s grave and they have built on top of the grave. Can you imagine the pain that people go through when they find houses on top of the graves of their loved ones?

“People need to stop buying sites from people without being shown a title deed.”

Thulani Dlangamandla said he had been struggling to legally purchase a piece of land in his area while preference was given to others.

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Msunduzi Municipality has issued a stern warning, saying it will not tolerate land invasions as they undermine proper planning processes and cost the municipality in resources, which leads to delays in service delivery

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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KwaZulu-Natal

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