Police in Boikhutsong in northern Gauteng used stun grenades and rubber bullets yesterday after violence broke out between Morula View residents and shack-dwellers that they claim are there illegally, according to Pretoria News.
The two groups had a physical confrontation outside the area’s well-known landmark the Odi Stadium. On August 3, a group of residents from Boikhutsong are alleged to have illegally erected shacks near formal houses in the area.
Go to Sandton’, shack-dwellers have told the community of mainly civil servants who claim their land has been invaded.
This was considered a land invasion by enraged homeowners, who claim the shacks will lower the value of their properties, some of which are double-storey. It was reported that a community of predominantly public servants including police, nurses, soldiers, prison wardens and firefighters is protective of their properties, having invested heavily in them.
They responded to the alleged land grab by blocking entry and exit points in Morula view, effectively preventing the area’s residence from going anywhere.
As ward councillor Tshepo Motaung began to address the crowd of residents who were blocking the way in and out of the area, they were charged at by an angry group of the Boikhutsong shack-dwellers who allegedly invaded the land armed with sticks and stones.
The metro police and SAPS on the scene were forced to call for backup. They failed to disperse the crowd but did arrest 11 people. The alleged land grabbers claim that they have been waiting for land for a very long time and can produce documents proving this.
They’ve taken the view that if those in Morula View are not comfortable with shacks near their fancy houses, they should relocate to Sandton. Motaung, meanwhile, says the violence is being perpetrated by “criminal elements” from other wards who were using the disagreement as an excuse to appropriate land without compensation.
He also blamed the DA-led municipality for the mess.
“The DA-led administration is failing the community because they are not appointing service providers to remove shacks in ANC wards. They must prevent the invasion of land because they are in charge of the municipality, to prevent black-on-black violence as you can already see,” he said.
Housing and human settlements MMC Mandla Nkomo, meanwhile, claims that illegal shacks are not just erected by poor community members who need land. “Honestly speaking, the service provider will find a backlog of illegal shacks. Unfortunately, these land invasions are led by people who have commercial interests and are taking advantage of the land expropriation without compensation debate.
“If you go to these invaded areas, you will find people with luxury cars parked there because they have motives to sell these yards,” said Nkomo. Two leaders from the Morula View community, Bootjie Dibela and Adolf Ngobeni, said that the alleged land grabbers are ruining the investment that residents had put into their homes.
“We do not have a problem with informal settlements outside our community. We understand that our brothers and sisters want land to live on, but what they are doing here is wrong,” Dibela said.
Source: The Citizen