Despite the condemnation by Gauteng Premier David Makhura during the weekend, the land-grabbing continued unabated on Monday at Olievenhoutbosch. People who invaded the land identified themselves as backyard dwellers.
They were spotted weeding out tall grass with spade and machettes on the vacant privately-owned land along the R55 Road.
They claimed to have run out of patience after waiting for the Department of Human Settlements to build them RDP houses since 2013.
They said they were given permission to “illegally” occupy the vacant land along R55 by the EFF chairperson in the area Peter Seolela.
Seolela didn’t deny that he was the mastermind behind the seizure of land.
He, however, said people only weeded out tall grass and trees from the land for security reasons.
“These people are cleaning up the place because they are getting robbed here and killed here by criminals,” he said.
He said the community was ordered to grab all vacant land in the surrounding.
“They must clean them up and wait on them until the department formally allocated them stands,” he said.
There were allegations that some people bought pieces of land for R100 from community leaders.
He said allegations emanated from a community meeting on Thursday when some residents volunteered to buy the tape measures to mark up the stands.
“On Thursday we had a meeting in which we asked how many of the community members had the tape measures to mark up the stands.Only volunteers were asked to assist to buy the tape measures.I will take the blame for asking people to assist those who don’t have the tape measures.
“The stands are for free. No one must buy a land. Even a R1 is too expensive to buy the land. We had other people coming from as far as Tembisa, who said that somebody from Tembisa promised them stands here for R800. We said that can’t be correct because stands are for free. People don’t have anything because their money had been spent on paying rents,” Seolela said.
On Friday, the backyard dwellers descended on the vacant land on R55 and illegally occupied it.
Seolela said police came in numbers in an attempt to stop them from invading the land.
“Police told us that there was a case that has been opened against us.We just explained to them that it can’t be correct that some people had opened a case because of the land that used to be vacant,” he said.
Makhura condemned the illegal land invasion on weekend, saying it won’t be allowed.
He claimed the activity was orchestrated by the organised group of people who came in the area in vehicles.
Meanwhile, head of human settlement department Matilda Gasela called on law enforcement agencies to take the necessary action against illegal land invaders.
“The Department is concerned that there are criminal elements within the community who continuously mislead the community. We call on law enforcement agencies to take strong action against them,” she said.
In December, a group of people invaded the RDP houses in Olievenhoutbosch.
Gasela said the department had obtained an interdict against further invasion of houses in the area and was also in the process of evicting 71 people.
“It seems that there is a group that has concerted efforts to bring anarchy in the community of Olievenhoutbosch. We call on the community not to be misled by opportunists,” she said.
Gasela said invasions delayed government development as resources that were going to be used for service delivery were used to remove the invaders.Pretoria News