File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)
File Picture: Bongani Mbatha African News Agency (ANA)

Farmers take City of Joburg to court over continued land invasions

By Gift Tlou Time of article published Nov 26, 2020

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Johannesburg - The City of Joburg’s land invasion nightmare in Lenasia is far from over with farm owners taking legal action against the city and continuous illegal land occupants.

The group of farmers, known as the United Farms of Rietfontein Lenasia, is made up of nine farm owners who reside on land on Nirvana Drive opposite extension 9 Lenasia.

The Star has established that the disgruntled farmers have been staying on the land for more than 40 years, and have been battling with the provincial government for title deeds.

The group claims that the illegal occupants have caused nothing but distress to their families.

“In recent times the illegal occupation of the farms has turned dire with continued threats and constant vandalising of our property occurring.

Since November 2019, we have been experiencing a threatening influx of land invasions, illegal connection of electricity and an increase in theft …”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed that a case of house breaking and motor gate theft was opened at Lenasia police station.

However, Peters stated that she was not aware of any livestock theft cases.

The group’s legal team has issued a court order to the City of Joburg, Human Settlements Department, Gauteng provincial government and the registry of deeds office.

The latest order is dated September 29 and indicates that the city is directed to take all necessary steps, including the appointment of a town planner, to lodge and persecute an application for the subdivision of Rietfontein farm.

“The first respondent (City of Joburg) be and hereby is directed to appoint the necessary town planner for purposes of the above within 14 days of any order of this honourable court.”

The order also instructs the city to provide the farmers with a schedule of town planners or companies that have previously provided town planning services to the city.

City spokesperson Nthatisi Modingoane said he was yet to see the court order.

“Our teams dealing with illegal land invasions are out on a daily basis responding to new reported cases … and demolishing illegal structures.”

Modingoane said the city would be launching the Joburg 10 Plus Programme, which was set to integrate law enforcement, crime prevention and basic service delivery programmes at ward level.

According to Modingoane, the programme would assist with curbing incidents of illegal land invasions in different wards. A previous court order was issued on May 19.

The Star

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