Group tries to 'hijack state land'
The same group marched to my house and threatened to burn it but police dispersed them, said Joel Masilela
A GROUP of people opposed to the recent relocation of residents from Phomolong informal settlement in Mamelodi to municipal-owned land near Eerste Fabrieke railway station made several attempts to attack a local councillor's house.
The same people had allegedly also attacked the homes of Phomolong residents who had been resettled on a piece of land behind the railway station after their homes were damaged by a burst water supply pipe last Monday. Some shacks were petrol-bombed more than once at the weekend.
Councillor Joel Masilela, of ward 40, which includes Phomolong, yesterday confirmed the existence of "a group that is trying to undermine the processes of government by insisting that they be accommodated on the Eerste Fabrieke land. They have been meeting on that land since January, claiming that they have identified it for themselves. They have demanded that the city abandon its plans".
He described the situation since the relocations started as "very threatening".
"On Friday evening, the same group marched on my house and threatened to burn it but police dispersed them. The first group was estimated at less than 100 but police stopped and dispersed another group of about 700 people on the way to join the first one."
Police dispersed the group again on Saturday and Sunday evening, he said.
He said they did not know that "as ward councillor I do not have the power to endorse such processes. Only the executive mayor and his committee have delegated powers".
Regarding the relocation, Masilela stressed that only those people appearing on the municipal list would be relocated. He said many families staying in Phomolong had not followed the correct registration process.
The councillor said some people were registered but did not stay in the area while others paid money to corrupt officials.
"Officially there are more than 15000 shacks in Phomolong but people come in daily. These are the doings of leaders selling stands," he said. "Those who bought stands illegally should not expect to be relocated."