SABC News - Eastern Cape villagers occupy land illegally:Sunday 16 April 2017

Eastern Cape villagers occupy land illegally

Sunday 16 April 2017 06:50

Nkululeko Nyembezi

Villagers in Zimbane are busy demarcating plots for themselves on the piece of land. (SABC)

Hundreds of people from Zimbane villages have illegally invaded land outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

The villagers say they have decided to occupy the land after learning that the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Local Municipality is planning to build RDP houses in the area.

The villagers say they have lodged a land claim and cannot understand why the municipality is building houses on the land in question.

Villagers have been busy demarcating plots for themselves on the piece of land.

They say they have lodged a land claim and won't allow the local municipality to build RDP houses on it.

Community spokesperson Rogers Zwakala says the municipality is undermining them and does not care about their land claim.

“We are not invading the land, because this was our grazing land, not at all. We are not defying an order. We do accept and understand the order but although the order is there the municipality is the only one defying the order because it has already appointed a company that is going to be building here. This land has been on the process of being restored to the people. There is no way this land belongs to the municipality at all.”

Chieftains Nosizwe Maxhwele says those who have invaded the land have breached a court order which prohibits anyone from building any structure on it.

Chieftains Maxhwele says the land claim has not been finalised.

“It simply means we are not allowed to use this land, we must first meet the municipality, we must meet the Zimbane community so the only thing I can say this is an invasion of the land.”

I cannot manage to buy a plot for R25 000 because my child is studying at the university of Transkei so I do not have money

Forty six-year-old Luleka Mgxekwa says she has no land for her children.

She has vowed to occupy the land despite the municipality's eviction threats.

“I cannot manage to buy a plot for R25 000 because my child is studying at the university of Transkei so I do not have money, I cannot buy. I decided to sit at home up to now and I am old enough to stay at home so I am going to have a space here even if the municipality needs this place I will not go till I get the space here.”

Some people who were among the land invaders say they have been waiting for land for years.

“There are RDP houses right across this place and the municipality promised to build us houses but that has not happened. We are seeing a number of houses without our consent. 2 We are losing our land to the people we do not know, I have four children I am staying at home and this is very bad so we need land. 3 The municipality has a tendency of owning land that is owned by the people here and that is not right because the municipality do not have land here.”

Attempts to get comment from the King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality have been unsuccessful.

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