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Shack in garden sparks outcry

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“The previous invaders also destroyed the fence and they had to replace it after the police intervened”

RESIDENTS of Ramora shacks in Ward 4 have threatened to burn down a shack that is being erected on a community food garden in their area.

The piece of land was given to an NGO, Disapele Waste Management, in 2002 and the elderly and unemployed have been benefiting from it by running various sustainable projects.

The elderly people explained that the land was also used as a community food garden, which was stopped when they ran out of funds and resources.

The elderly, who are beneficiaries of the project, together with other members of the community, recently gathered in front of the yard and burned tyres.

They were apparently confronted by knife-wielding men who were busy erecting the shack.

The community has now demanded answers from the municipality and pointed out that this was the second time they had to fend off an illegal invasion of this specific piece of land.

They said a man arrived a few days ago and started erecting a shack right in the middle of the property.

The man has been accused of destroying part of the fence to gain entry to the property.

Rossie Mpokwane, who is the manager of the project, said that the land was invaded last year as well and they were forced to open a case with the police.

“The previous invaders also destroyed the fence and they had to replace it after the police intervened,” a frustrated Mpokwane said.

Community members also feel that the elderly people are being abandoned as they cannot get hold of their ward councillor.

They also questioned whether someone was bribed in order to allow the land to be invaded.

According to Mpokwane, they are still in the process of securing funding to revive the project.

“We received seeds from the Department of Economic Development to start planting vegetables and we have engaged with the mayor during a community meeting to assist us in getting the place cleaned.

“This project has fed many mouths over the years. Some of the original beneficiaries have passed away but their children are now helping us. Crèches and soup kitchens get vegetables from this project. It is a rich piece of land,” she added.

One community member said that they have been watching the activities.

“There have been meetings held under the tree in front of this land. We know the owner of the shack.”

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said the municipality is not in a position to comment at this stage. “We will investigate the matter further,” he said.