Special unit created as Pretoria land grabs spiral out of control: report

 ·23 Mar 2017

The DA’s City of Tshwane has confirmed the formation of a dedicated unit to fight off land grab claimants, as the number of land grab incidents continues to spiral out of control in the area.

Speaking to the Pretoria News on 23 March, human settlements MMC Mandla Nkomo blamed criminal and political elements for the land invasions which have affected both public and privately owned properties across the city.

He said that the areas that have been worst effected by the claims are Nellmapius, Ga-Rankuwa, Atteridgeville, Soshanguve, Fort West and Mamelodi East.

Nkomo said that with the help of councillors and politicians, people simply allocate land to each other and create an informal settlement, resulting in numerous battles during evictions in the past year.

“It is more criminal incidents than anything else. There are people who say the ANC is behind it; others blame the DA while fingers are also pointed at the EFF. The problem of land invasion in the city is out of control,” Nkomo told the Pretoria News.

In most cases land was sold or occupied without permission, he said.

“It is not fair to be taking money from the people that way. We need to investigate who is taking money in that fashion,” he said.

Several other metropolitan areas around the country have already instituted anti-land grab units as part of their metro police divisions, most notably the City of Cape Town and eThekwini.

The legality of these units have repeatedly come under fire however, as they have reportedly breached Constitutional property rights by removing shacks where claims had already taken residence.

Read: ANC split on taking land without compensation – what is the party’s policy?

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