Endlovini residents occupy vacant land

Leadership at Endlovini informal settlement and Monwabisi Park have expressed concern over the impact of the ongoing land grabbing conflict on the area’s development.

They have also condemned in the strongest terms the continued threats against innocent lives.

On Saturday September 2, scores of armed people occupied a piece of land said to be reserved for housing development in the area.

However, for the past two weeks, a number of structures have been unlawfully erected on the site, which is situated between Swart-klip, Oscar Mpetha Drive and Baden Powell Drive.

When Vukani arrived, bakkies with building materials were being driven into the area.

However, the City’s law enforcement did not make it easy for the occupiers and any structures put up were immediately pulled down.

The local ward committee and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said they discourage illegal land grabbing because Ndlovini is now being developed.

Ward committee chairperson, Nkosinathi Qwayi, further condemned people who are threatening leaders and those who torched the offices of the local councillor. He said most people who are occupying the land are from areas such as Makhaza, Kraaifontein and Philippi.

“This is unfair and unjustified. We are now under threat (as we are) stopping people from occupying the land. This should not happen. Our concern is that Ndlovini is now being developed.

“This will hamper that development. We are also worried about backyarders who were on the verge of getting their own places who have now taken their hokkies (shacks) to that land.

“That will take them back to square one. Others were to get electricity but they have since taken their hokkies there. It is a shameful experience,” he told Vukani. Mr Qwayi said another concern was violence and crime since new people have come to the area. “One night they have been here, one man was found dead. No one knows the man and who did that. We have been threatened by them. We are leaders but they should stay away from threatening our families.

“The truth is that the land was put aside for development of our area. They should know that,” he said.

Sanco chairperson Mike Pongolo said indeed the land was reserved for the development.

He called on the leadership of the area to unite against violent people who came to occupy the land.

But Mr Pongolo also suspects that there are some leaders who are behind the land grabbing.

“This started when some 23 shacks were going to get electricity. Within days we saw that 400 shacks were to be electrified without our knowledge.

“When we asked about that, we were told not to speak. We suspect that there are a few leaders who are behind this,” he said.

Another ward committee member, Sandiso Twalo, said he was concerned about the future of those backyarders who were to be given homes.

“This will really take them back. It is a pity that people are influenced by outsiders.

“It is a shame that our people do not even ask why these people are coming to their land, instead they assist them,” he said.

Some of the land grabbers, working with spades and hammers, told Vukani they needed their own spaces.

Asked where they were from, one refused to divulge his area but said he was told there is land available in the area.

People said during the demolition of the shacks they lost their documents and their building materials. Some said they would continue building even after demolition until the City provides them with homes.