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Residents approach protector over land

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“In the meantime other people have erected shacks on our land and are refusing to leave.”

PHOTO: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

EIGHT Jacksonville residents said that they have laid a complaint with the public protector regarding land that they claim is rightfully theirs.

Speaking on behalf of the affected residents, Ruben Moosa said that they had won a court order after they were forcefully removed from the land in 2016.

“We want to obtain a contempt of court order against Sol Plaatje Municipality, following the ruling that was in our favour. We had to move back in with our parents and have been patiently waiting in vain for the municipality to provide us with alternative land.

“In the meantime other people have erected shacks on our land and are refusing to leave.”

Moosa stated that they had tried to meet with the mayor on Wednesday but were informed that he was not available.

“The municipality wants us now to move to Bobo se Plaas at the Lerato Park informal settlement. They told us that they were busy with a development to provide water, sanitation services and electricity there, but we are refusing to relocate. Residents from Bobo se Plaas met with the mayor on Wednesday as they were threatening to embark on strike action yesterday as they are demanding the provision of basic services.

“The municipality had last indicated that they would demolish all the shacks at Bobo se Plaas, so what is the use of moving there now? We believe that it is just empty promises. Perhaps we are not receiving any attention because we haven’t taken to the streets.”

Ward councillor Paul Kok said that municipal officials from the Speaker’s Office as well as from Human Settlements had met with the community on Wednesday night.

“Residents of Bobo se Plaas want their plots demarcated as well as the installation of basic services,” said Kok.

He was not aware of any developments that had been announced to install basic services in the area. Kok added that the meeting would address illegal shanties that had been erected in Jacksonville and Uysville in Roodepan.

“We will see how to assist the eight Jacksonville residents.”

The spokesperson for the mayor, Persome Oliphant, stated that the Office of the Mayor had convened a special community meeting with the ward councillor, the ward committee and affected groups in Ward 30.

“This ward includes residents of Jacksonville as well as illegal shacks that were erected on a vacant piece of land behind the municipal swimming pool in Roodepan.

“The land currently occupied by informal settlers within Jacksonville forms part of the larger housing development by the municipality within Ward 30.”

Oliphant indicated that the mayor had addressed all the concerns raised by the community.

“This office is committed towards continuous engagement and support.”

She denied that the municipality was in contravention of any court order. “The piece of land behind the Roodepan swimming pool where the shacks are erected, belongs to the municipality and has been earmarked for future commercial development. Therefore, any current informal structures that are erected on that specific land are deemed illegal by the municipality.”

She indicated that no illegal construction of structures was permitted or encouraged. “The municipality has a relocation and integration programme that allows all informal settlers to be migrated to alternative and suitable locations.”