Category Archives: Buyi Maphumulo

The Mirror: Land invaders evicted from Edendale (Pietermaritzburg)

Land invaders evicted from Edendale
Buyi Maphumulo
(The Mirror, October 24, 2007)

The Edendale land invaders have likened their ward councillor to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for chasing them off the land. “We will not move from this land. If Msunduzi Municipality wants to move us, they will have to come and kill us,” said the illegal occupants of land on Erf 411 plot adjacent to the old Blue Ribbon Bakery in Edendale.

The invaders spoke to the Mirror after making several efforts to get the councillor of Ward 22, Patrick Jaca, to have a meeting with them. This came after a bulldozer, sent by the municipality, demolished eight structures built on municipal land. Pius Mbele said he used to live with Jaca and was instrumental in getting him voted in as a councillor.

“After all we have been through, today Jaca wants us to live on the streets. He knows the people’s circumstances and he could have handled this matter better by agreeing to meet with us ands finding means to accommodate us,” said Mbele.

The community said they were not given any notice of the demolishing of their structures and that if anyone wants to evict people they should have a plan in place for where those people should go. In this case there was no notice of eviction or alternative accommodation.

For that reason the invaders are adamant that they will not leave the land unless municipal officials unless municipal officials come and address them on issues of concern and the intend on rebuilding their destroyed structures.

The settlers describe their councillor as rude and likened him to Robert Mugabe for wanting to chase them off the land.

“When we approach him, he swears and dismisses us. He tells the media that he distances himself from us as we are illegally occupying land. What kind of councillor distances himself from the people? He should be speaking to us to find a solution to our situation as we are not criminals, we just need a roof over our heads,” said Mbele.

When the invaders asked for a meeting in the presence of the police in case the councillor was afraid of them, the councillor still did not attend the meeting. Jaca said he no intention of speaking with people who are breaking the law.

The land is partly owned by the municipality and by a private owner, according to the invaders, owes council R22 000 in rates.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said by law people have to be notified if they are going to be evicted and the municipality has the responsibility to have a plan in place for where people are to be moved to. Haswell could not say whether that procedure was followed in the case of
Edendale.

But senior security superintendent Alan Bennette said the opposite: his version is that the municipality does not need to give notice when demolishing illegal house structures.