Evictions loom as municipality enforces court order

Komatipoort - The Nkomazi municipality in Mpumalanga will enforce a court interdict to stop people from settling on land given to beneficiaries of a 9 000ha land claim near Komatipoort.

Rival members of the Mjejane Trust in Hectorspruit have allegedly been selling stands on about 405ha of the land, which was successfully claimed in 2007.

According to the municipality's communication manager, Cyril Ripinga, about 10 000 people have bought stands on land that does not have the necessary basic infrastructure for a township.

"We can't have leaders of land claimants giving people land to build houses without the municipality's knowledge. In the end, these people come to the municipality to seek services for which there are no plans or budgets and then we have service delivery protests," said Ripinga.

He said the recipients of the land were also posing a danger to motorists on the N4 because their livestock was roaming freely.

"There is no fencing and we now have goats and cows wandering all over the road," he said.

Some members of the Mjejane Trust claim the land is being sold by its former chairman, Samson Mawelele, and have welcomed the interdict.

Mish Silinda, a member of the Mjejane board of trustees, said the beneficiaries had not agreed to sell the land.

"The sale of the stands was led by the former chairman, who we sacked. This interdict is the best solution for the beneficiaries, who are busy applying to establish a township in the area for themselves. We can't just have stands without basic infrastructure, but Mawelele doesn't care," said Silinda.

According to people who have bought stands, they were charged anything from R650 for a basic stand to R65 000 for a cluster of larger stands in choice locations.

Ripinga said the buyers included local politicians and councillors, as well as police officers and businesspeople.

"But they will have to leave because they are now officially occupying the land illegally," he said.

Mawelele could not be reached for comment.

Mandla Khoza
- BuaNews