Home News NC military veterans erect shacks on “promised” land

NC military veterans erect shacks on “promised” land

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The provincial chairperson of the military veterans organisation, Edwin Martins Mogatle, said on Wednesday that they were prepared to “go to jail or die” in the battle to claim their land.

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A GROUP of military veterans has started building shacks on the Tsineng road near the R31 in Kuruman and are adamant that there is nothing that can convince them to leave.

The provincial chairperson of the military veterans organisation, Edwin Martins Mogatle, said on Wednesday that they were prepared to “go to jail or die” in the battle to claim their land.

“There were attempts to obtain an interim interdict against us. We are prepared to fight the matter in court,” said Mogatle.

He indicated that no one had tried to prevent them from erecting the shacks since they moved on to the land on Sunday.

“About 50 shanties have been built already and as soon as construction is complete we will be moving in with our families. No one will dare to evict us. The land is serviced and is ready for occupation for all 200 beneficiaries and their families. We will give the authorities a deadline of three months to build us townhouses with a minimum of three bedrooms.”

Mogatle claimed that the land had been allocated by the Ga-Segonyana Municipality in 2013 for the construction of houses for military veterans.

“Plans were approved for a military veterans village, incorporating a primary school, clinic and recreational park. Veterans who sacrificed their lives in the fight for democracy and spent years in exile away from their families, serving the country and fighting wars in Angola, need to be integrated back into society. We have vowed that we will never be displaced again.”

Mogatle added that the veterans were currently being accommodated in crowded conditions with other family members.

“I am still living with my mother, along with my wife and children. I left home when I was 17 years old to join uMkhonto we Sizwe – where they told me that I was still a child and they sent me to school. I joined the camp in Angola as soon as I completed matric as it was my mission to be a soldier … During my 30 years of military service I have never had my own home and I am not getting any younger.”

According to council minutes, a business plan for the installation of essential services was submitted to the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) by the Ga-Segonyana Municipality in February 2013, where the department made a commitment to fund the servicing of an additional 170 erven.

Mogatle said that he had requested a report from Coghsta regarding the “unsuitability” of the land for housing development. “The department claimed that the soil was comprised of dolomite. However, up until today, I am still waiting for that report.”

He added that council had consequently rescinded the decision to alienate the land for the military veterans.

“The land was later sold to a private housing developer without consultation of the military veterans.”

Mogatle said that the military veterans had objected to an alternative settlement site that was identified for them, near the local prison.

“The soil there has a higher concentration of dolomite. We disapprove of the location as it is situated near a mushrooming informal settlement, as there is a shortage of available land. We do not want to form the barrier between the rich and the poor.”

No response to media enquiries was received from the Ga-Segonyana Municipality or Coghsta by the time of publication.