Land grabs hit Gauteng metros
The City of Johannesburg said on Monday it would continue to uphold the law as it tried to fight a surge in land grabs across the country’s economic capital.
Member of the mayoral committee for community safety‚ Michael Sun‚ confirmed that there had been land invasions in Blue Hills‚ Midrand‚ and other parts of the city.
“We have been aware of the land invasion incidents in Blue Hills. In fact‚ I have been dealing with it since early Saturday morning.
“Our JMPD officers went out to investigate and also to establish who owns the land[being invaded]. It was discovered that these parcels of land are privately owned. Through the assistance of the ward councillors and community member we managed to establish contact with the owners and explain to them what they needed to do and the situation at hand.
“JMPD was out there to maintain order and also make sure that we are able to stop the invaders from causing further disruptions and invasion. But this was a very difficult situation because of the number of people that came on site‚” said Sun.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has already commented on the land invasion saying no one has a right to do so as this is a clear sign of disorder and violation of law.
Ramaphosa was responding to another land grab which took place in Olivenhoutbosch in the City of Tshwane. He warned those who invade land that they would feel the full might of the law and said that if illegal occupation of land was allowed it would set a bad precedent.
On February 27‚ a motion for land expropriation in the National Assembly was passed by a majority vote. The matter has been referred to the Constitutional Review Committee‚ which must report back to Parliament by August 30.
The EFF had proposed that an ad hoc committee be established to review and amend Section 25 of the Constitution to make it possible for the state to expropriate land in the public interest‚ without compensation. Section 25 of the Constitution – known as the property clause - states the government must make laws and take other steps to help people or communities to get land to live on‚ and to claim back land if they lost it after 1913 and because of an apartheid law.
While parliamentary processes continue‚ it is the cities which are faced with the rise in land invasion.
Recently‚ Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba joined Gauteng human settlement MEC Paul Mashatile to secure an order stopping people from invading land in Orange Farm Extension 10.
Sun said the rise in land invasion was a serious concern for the city.
“We are very concerned of the upsurge in land invasion. Just in the past weekend we had several incidents. One is the one in Blue Hills. We had one along Golden Highway near Eldorado Park‚ the other one started yesterday is Weilers Farm.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in these places. We need to uphold the law until there is a clearer legislative direction with regards to land reform. We as the metro are obliged to uphold the law and protect the interest of all‚” said Sun.