Update - Irate residents picket at MLM
20 September 2020
"The occupiers were given fourteen days to vacate the above properties, and/or interdicted from preventing or obstructing the municipal officials or employees or contractors to access the properties, in performance and compliance with their legal duties and/or obligations. They were also ordered to dismantle and remove the incomplete structures erected at these properties on or before 20 August 2020."
Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) has seen their fair share of irate residents and business owners lately, and today it no different. A group of residents from various areas of Wesselton were picketing in front of the MLM building last week, while the SAPS kept a close eye on proceedings. The residents in question expressed their dismay regarding a court order of removal issued recently. Amongst other concerns, service delivery, employment issues and supply chain dissatisfaction issues were raised.
“It’s terrible. We are treated like nothing, like we are not human beings. We are all suffering, we need to provide for our families, and we are being blocked by unlawful proceedings. We are promised free and fair housing during elections, but nothing ever comes to us,” a picketer told the Tribune. Wesselton has come under the spotlight for the lack of maintenance, especially regarding the roads, electrical and water supply infrastructure. “I care for a disabled family member, which makes it difficult to navigate within Wesselton. Everything is falling apart, an nobody is listening to us. We are without electricity a lot of the time. Innocent residents are suffering due to illegal connections. Not all of us are part of the “izinyoka”, yet some of us have no other choice. We will wait for municipality technicians until Jehova comes,” another picketer lamented.
Scores of disgruntled residents kicked against the court order, which mandates that they vacate property that they have illegally occupied. Upon enquiry, Mr. Zwane, MLM spokesperson, issued the following statement: “The municipality is concerned with sporadic protest that halt the day to day work and loss of money. The community is also agonized because of disruption or lack of services because of these protects. Part of the protest was about the court eviction order on illegal land occupiers. On 11 August 2020, the High Court of South Africa Mpumalanga Local Division, Middelburg handed down judgement in application by the municipality for an eviction order. The High Court granted an eviction order against individual(s) or person(s) who unlawful or illegal or attempting to erect informal or formal dwelling structures in portion 13 remaining extent of farm Nooitgedacht 268-IT ( Farm Maphuti 770-IT); portion 183 extent of Farm Nooitgedacht 268-IT; portion 17 of Farm Witbank 268 –IT and portion 9226 of Wesselton Ext 11. On 6 August 2020, the Sheriff of the High Court served a notice on the occupiers of the above mentioned properties notifying them by posting the notice on an erected boards at the entrance of each property and/or served to 1st – 6th respondents. After service of the preliminary notices in terms Prevention of Illegal Eviction From and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 (PIE), an order of court was obtained authorizing the service of the eviction application on the occupiers. The occupiers were given fourteen days to vacate the above properties, and/or interdicted from preventing or obstructing the municipal officials or employees or contractors to access the properties, in performance and compliance with their legal duties and/or obligations. They were also ordered to dismantle and remove the incomplete structures erected at these properties on or before 20 August 2020. In the event that the occupiers fail or refuse to comply with the order the Sheriff of this court, or his/her deputy be authorized to execute the order, and where necessary, to obtain the assistance of the South African Police Services, the sheriff of this court or his/her deputy will be authorized to demolish and remove the incomplete structures erected in these properties. It should be noted that only the court that can rescind the order.”