Squatters whose shacks were destroyed say:

NO FUTURE: Adam Magodielo. © Unknown
NO FUTURE: Adam Magodielo. © Unknown

Israel Nkate

Israel Nkate

Development has come at a price for the residents of Mabele-a-Podi, a village situated between Sun City and Mogwase.

Mogwase was established more than 20 years ago and most of its residents are employed at the neighbouring gambling Mecca. The area consists of bonded houses.

But informal settlements mushroomed in the area because more people settled in the area hoping to get jobs.

This growth negatively impacted on the residents of the old village of Mabele-a-Podi because there was no longer enough space for them to build their own houses. And many cannot buy bonded houses because they say they are too expensive.

This week these homeless people resorted to building shacks near Mogwase.

They said nobody could stop them because the land belonged to their ancestors. But the Moses Kotane district municipality intervened and destroyed the already built shacks.

Adam Magodielo said: "This land belongs to our forefathers. Nine of our shacks were already built and out of the blue our shacks were demolished by the council," said Magodielo.

"How can the council own the tribe's land without our knowledge?" he asked.

Magodielo said before the local council was established, the land in dispute belonged to residents who used it for farming.

"We stopped using the land for farming after the then president of Bophuthatswana, Lucas Mangope, killed our donkeys in the 1980s. There was no way we could plough without donkeys," he told Sowetan.

Magodielo said after they had stopped ploughing the land, the homeland government declared the area as a residential area, Mogwase Zone 7.

"I suspect there were behind-the-scenes deals between tribal leaders and local government politicians regarding the land," said Magodielo.

"There is no transparency between the royal house in Moruleng and us in Mabele-a-Podi."

He said: "Decisions are taken in our absence. We have requested meetings with the king to sort out this matter, but to no avail."

"This council does not deserve the service delivery award they won in 2006. We still use pit-toilets and we don't have a high school."