Ayanda Zulu shows a resident some of the sites found by the Department of Human Settlements. Pictures: Chanelle Lutchman
Durban - The closing of a chapter can be sombre for some, but for the residents of the historic Seven Tanks community in the Silverglen Nature Reserve, the end marks the beginning of something great.

After fighting off invaders trying to steal their land and build on their properties, the 30-odd families could soon be saying goodbye to their tiny wood-and-iron homes.

The Department of Human Settlements has found 46 parcels of land in Chatsworth to be developed to build them new homes.

While the waiting period is between three months to a year, the residents will in the interim be temporarily relocated to park homes in Chatsworth.

This was after the residents, most of whom are self-employed farmers, complained of been targeted by land invaders.

Resident Rachel Moonsamy said they were relieved.

“Most of our questions were answered and as Rocky Naidoo (the deputy chair of the Bayview Community Police Forum) said from 2015, we have been waiting for answers and now we have them.

“We appreciate the work and the extra focus given by the department. We are now looking forward to working together and securing a better future for us and our kids.”

Another resident, Tracy Naidoo, said she was over the moon.

“Honesty, I feel more relaxed knowing we are going away from here and MEC Ravi Pillay is delivering what was promised to the people from Silverglen Nature Reserve.”

On Monday, officials from the department met with residents at the nearby conservancy and were assured by the senior manager for inter-governmental relations, Ramesh Harcharan, that this was not an election ploy.

“We are responding to a crisis.

“This is not some election ploy. The MEC (of Human Settlements) has already instructed me to act quickly and instructed the move,” Harcharan told the residents.

“There is no one higher than him. Now the question is only about rolling it out. The department has done everything. The MEC has already approved. We are concerned about the safety of the people in the area.”

Harcharan said the department viewed their situation in a serious light.

“Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of violence in the area and we need to protect the people.

“The MEC is very passionate about this community. We sit on chats where we read messages from you guys about noises and groups moving around.

“We get concerned and start calling for the police to check it out,” Harcharan said.

“Last week, we were so concerned and troubled. The MEC, who usually gets driven around, came to pick me up and we drove around with Rocky Naidoo looking for sites owned by the department that we could relocate you guys to,” he told the residents.

Harcharan’s colleague, Ayanda Zulu, said they found 46 sites owned by the department in Silverglen, Savannah Park and Arena Park, but they needed to assess the land first before work began.

“We had two companies assessing the sites. Their findings show there are some areas that need to be rezoned, sent back to the municipality and reserved,” Zulu said.

“In Silverglen, out of 14sites, we can only develop seven.

“In Savannah Park, out of 44 sites, we can accommodate 37 families, and in Arena Park we can accommodate two families.

“This is, however, subject to proper finalisation of planning activities,” Zulu said.

“We are already preparing a submission to advise the departmental property management unit on the necessary processes and request for the release of the land.

“The next step would be to engage with the affected ward leaders and communities.”