eThekwini Municipality > City Government > Council > City Mayor > Blog > Posts > Appeal for calm as City addresses land invasion
August 24
Appeal for calm as City addresses land invasion

ETHEKWINI Municipality strongly condemns the land invasions taking place in the City. We also discourage any resident from illegally occupying land and appeal for calm during this time.

The City is facing a serious challenge of land invasion which I believe is politically driven. Land is a scarce resource and the Municipality has an obligation to protect and preserve land with the purpose of utilising it to unlock future development opportunities for the growth and sustainability of our City.

We are also seeing opportunists taking advantage of a court interdict preventing the City from evicting 241 listed applicants provided they have been verified. EThekwini Municipality will be returning to court on 1 September 2017 where we will have the opportunity to argue the matter regarding the alleged illegal eviction of these residents.

While we cannot go into the merits of the case as it is before court, the areas in question where the respondents live include New City Settlement in Marian Ridge, Cato Manor Settlement in Cato Manor, Asiyindawo in Lamontville, Nagina Phase 2 in Shallcross, Polokwane Transit Camp in Lindelani, Ekukhanyeni in Emansenseni and Ekuphumeleleni in Shallcross.

As is practice, the City only demolishes incomplete and unoccupied structures. The public is urged to be aware that the City’s Land Invasion Unit is still working as mandated and is responding to incidents and reports of land invasion across the City. Their work has not been hindered by the court interdict. The invading of Municipal owned or private land is a serious issue as it can hinder development taking place in the City.

We will continue to look for solutions to deal with this matter to ensure that we continue to take the City to greater heights. The solution will be driven through the efforts of Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer through the Security and Emergency Services Committee which she chairs. She will be addressing this matter as well as looking for long term solutions which may include establishing a task team to get to the root of land invasion in eThekwini.

While we are a caring City we cannot allow lawlessness to reign. I reassure residents that we are addressing this matter and reiterate my call for calm during this time.


Re: Appeal for calm as City addresses land invasion

The emergence of slums/shacks seems to be a perennial problem that has plagued the municipality for decades. The scourge can be traced back to the period before 1994 when there used to be Umkhumbane informal settlement. Umkhumbane was eventually demolished and people were moved to new townships that had newly been developed such as kwaMashu and uMlazi.  Since then, it became quiet as the municipality had kept a vigilant eye on the emergence of new slums. But things took turn for the worse in the early 90s when the emergence of shacks spiralled out of control, and as result the municipality could not stop people from invading the land. The land invasion of the early 90s could probably be linked to the increased urbanisation that was witnessed during that time. Ever since, informal settlements have been mushrooming all over the place, and it looks like the problem still persists to this day despite the fact that the municipality has established its own structures to handle the problem of land invasion.

Perhaps the land invasion problem presents us with an opportunity to dialectically question the systems of governance that are currently in force whether they are helpful in producing the desired outcomes. We know that economic opportunities are literally non-existent in rural areas and far-flung areas, and that people come to urban areas for economic opportunities. And when they come to a place like Durban they encounter the accommodation problem, then they start invading land and build shacks so that they can be close to their places of work. On the other hand, the municipality has done a lot in building infrastructure to accommodate migrant workers who have come to Durban to pursue economic opportunities but it appears as if it is not enough that has been done by the municipality. And it looks like it will never be enough if the municipality’s efforts are juxtaposed with the unending deluge of people flocking to the city. 

For me this problem calls into question the working relationship between the three spheres of government as the resolution of the land-invasion problem cannot be achieved by the municipality’s efforts alone. We know that the Constitution provides for both vertical and horizontal division of power. Vertical division refers to the doctrine of separation of powers whilst horizontal division of power refers to the division of executive and legislative powers among the three spheres of government. Coordination of activities relating to the exercise of legislative powers is managed by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) whereas for the executive power it is managed by the bodies created by the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act. I know there is a lot that has been done but it appears as if there is still a lot more that still needs to be done.  How do we then best utilise or reengineer these structures for the purpose of producing helpful and innovative ideas and to better manage the overlap of any powers among the spheres of government? This is a difficult question to answer and I thus propose that we find new methods of tackling problems as current methods appear to be ineffective – paradigm shift. We can probably infuse our thinking with philosophical concepts such as dialectical materialism.  Those who are steeped in the theory of the working class or who cut their political teeth in the revolutionary struggle will probably know better.

At some other time, I responded with a sense of approval when I heard of the news about the revival of Isipingo town. It used to be a flourishing small town back in the 80s and early 90s until many people deserted the town because of crime and violence. People used to get killed as a result of mistaken identity. Isipingo was mostly frequented by people who resided in far-flung areas such as Umbumbulu and Ngonyamenni. The fiction fights in Umbumbulu mainly between Makhanya and Mkhize clans would spread out to Isipingo in the form of sporadic assassinations; as a result innocent would be killed because of failed reconnaissance. After you have been killed, they would say, “eish this is not the one we are looking for”, by that time you are dead and they cannot bring you back to life. For that reason many people stopped frequenting Isipingo.

So, rejuvenating old small towns such as Isipingo may eventually produce ripple effects whereby we may see remote areas such as Umbumbulu and Ngonyameni receive their maiden economic development, and through municipality’s interaction with other governmental bodies we may also see development reach people in their rural areas, thus creating an opportunity for the vacant space in Durban and its surroundings to be earmarked for radical economic projects. 

As a municipality, I would encourage you to keeping on improvising until you find a solution to nip informal settlements in the bud once and for all.

PS: Namhlanje ithina esesishayeka ngomzimba. Olova esasiqombola nabo eSthawa sebasimpuka. Mhlobo-mbobo!

Makamisa 'Vader' Majola
 on 8/25/2017 3:21 PM

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 on 8/31/2017 2:41 AM

Re: Appeal for calm as City addresses land invasion
 on 8/31/2017 11:20 AM

Re: Appeal for calm as City addresses land invasion
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