Hands off Uitenhage land invaders, says Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Bobani
A land occupation in Khayelitsha, Uitenhage, which started a month ago had seen over 200 shacks erected by Thursday morning, GroundUp reports.
The occupation is taking place beside several busy roads, including Kiva, Cushe, Mabi, Gqabi and Sonto streets. The shacks have been squeezed onto any available open land in the area.
"We have now decided to be neighbours of cows and pigs. We live among kraals and pigsties," said a land occupant who did not wish to give their name.
Many shacks are on land up against the face brick New Apostolic Church on the corner of Mabi and Cushe streets.
Lizo Kilani from the church said: "We at church are happy... We have had break-ins, with church equipment being stolen frequently. In the most recent break-in, thugs stole the sound system speakers worth R10 000... We therefore appreciate the presence of these people and hope there will be no theft."
Zongezile Djantjies occupied the land three weeks ago. He said the family's RDP house was overcrowded. "I am the eldest of four brothers, and we all stay with our parents in a four-roomed RDP house."
"We have now instructed people that if they like a certain piece of land, they must easily occupy it," said Lukhanyo Banana, chairperson of the land occupiers. According to Banana, about 300 families have occupied land in Endlovini.
He said, "When I was a boy, I saw that the municipality putting in underground pipes, saying the land was earmarked for an art centre. But for over two decades, there has never been an art centre in the area."
He said that Mayor Mongameli Bobani (UDM) had allowed them to occupy the land and that Ward 43 councillor, Simphiwe Ntshiza (EFF), said "he will fight with us and that no one will remove us".
"The mayor also assured us that we are doing the right thing and that we must occupy every space we see. Both the mayor and the EFF councillor promised they will bring us water and install electricity. There is an air of excitement in the area after the two leaders' promises," he said.
Bobani told GroundUp: "We are sticking by the council resolution: hands off the land invaders."
Ward 43 councillor Simphiwe Ntshiza (EFF) said: "I support the land invaders 100% in my ward. Also, no one can bypass the council resolution we took last year that says there must be no more evictions on invasion. We as politicians are decision makers. No one has a right to remove these people, including the directors, municipal officials and members of the mayoral committee."