Land occupiers give Mpumalanga Govt tough time

Land occupiers give Mpumalanga Govt tough time
MOTHERLAND: Mpumalanga's house of traditional leaders is calling for stricter legislation to curb land invasion. PICTURE BY Sowetan

People illegally occupy land and later demand basic services that include water, road infrastructure and electricity.

The Mpumalanga government has raised concerns about the increasing incidents of land invasions and disputes in the province.

Cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Busi Shiba raised this during the official opening of the House of Traditional Leaders in the provincial legislature in Mbombela.

In most cases, people illegally occupy the land and later demand basic services that include water, road infrastructure and electricity.

Traditional Leaders chair Inkosi Sandile Ngomane says the matter is giving them sleepless nights. According to Ngomane some of the herdsmen are responsible for the mushrooming of land invasions. He feels the law has to be strengthened to fight land invasions.

“We are unable to control our own traditional leaders, the Izinduna; we put them there, we can take the blame.

“They are the ones doing these things, in many instances, you find these powerful people just coming out and saying ‘I am going to take this land, Bukhosi can’t do anything, I am powerful’. They then cut the stand,” Ngomane said.

Shiba has also warned those who defied the government and conducted initiations schools, despite restrictions placed to mitigate the spread of COVID -19.

Shiba urged law enforcement to act swiftly on illegal initiation schools and land invasions.

“It must be repeatedly stated that land invasion is a criminal act and must be curbed with the full might of the law. We understand the plight of some of our communities who need land for residential purposes.

“In addressing this need, the Department of Human Settlements working closely with CoGTA and municipalities are attending to these matters in the most appropriate and legitimate manner,” she said.

Shiba has reminded the traditional leaders that Ummemo traditional ceremony, initiation schools, remain suspended until the government advises otherwise to fight the spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

– SABC –