LAND GRABBING

COMMUNITIES in Kokstad have been cautioned to refrain from invading the municipal land because the consequences would be very harsh, unfair, and unfriendly when the Municipality is compelled to use force when evicting land invaders, which will lead to some the structures being demolished after having spent their money when they were building them.

The warning came in the wake of recent incidents where some of the local residents invaded the municipal land, Erf 1, in Kokstad at Marikana. The Greater Kokstad Municipality categorically states that no municipal land would lie empty without any plans for it.

However, most of the Municipal land and properties are reserved for future projects but that depends on how urgent and strategic that particular project is for the development plans of the Municipality. The municipality’s spokesperson, Nthabeleng Seshea Matshoba said, this criminal act has been a challenge for the past few years, which led to the municipality seeking court eviction orders to demolish and remove illegal occupants of municipal owned land.

“Several meetings were held between the municipality and the affected communities to warn them to stop occupying municipal owned land illegally. It was further explained that harsh action will be taken against those who continue with land grab and there will be consequences,” said Matshoba.

She added that the recent land grabs occurring in Marikana and anywhere on municipal owned land are perceived to be a direct attack to the municipality and will provoke harsh responses as it should be understood by communities that municipal land is zoned for various future developments such as housing and business development.

“Land grabs disrupt and divert plans, while putting pressure on the municipality to service areas that were not part of the initial plans, this causes unnecessary delays on realisation of planned developments,” Matshoba explained. She added the municipality will unapologetically continue to fight shacks mushrooming in Kokstad and fully enforce the court orders and municipal bylaws without fear or favour. The process of identifying and demolishing mushrooming shacks in Marikana has started and will continue until there are no attempts of building shacks anymore. There is a plan in place which will be fully implemented in fighting against grabbing of municipal land.

“We also want to announce that the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is in the process of obtaining a court order against the invasion of the Baildfontein farm, all those illegal structures will be demolished soon after all legal processes have been finalised,” she added. People are urged to refrain from these criminal activities to avoid unnecessary inconveniences on them and the part of the municipality.