PREMIER Slams LAND INVADERS
THE invasion of land continues to pose a serious challenge to the Mpumalanga government.
This has emerged after about 3000 people invaded open land and named it after President Jacob Zuma.
Msholozi village is situated on the R40 road between White River and Nelspruit and people who used to live on local farms started erecting shacks there in August last year.
The informal settlement has no infrastructure such as water pipes, electricity and sanitation or a clinic. There is only a small primary school.
Asked why the people called the area "Msholozi", the chairperson of the local community forum, Screamer Bila, said it was because the community there had hoped Zuma would become the country's president after the recent general elections.
"We named the place after Msholozi because he is the man of the people and the people wanted him for the top job. Our wish has been fulfilled but we do not have anywhere to stay, so we have invaded this land," Bila said.
The community held a meeting yesterday and agreed that no other people would be given stands since they had all been occupied.
While the community was still at the meeting they received a surprise visit from Premier David Mabuza, who had apparently been told that a community meeting would be taking place yesterday.
Mabuza later addressed the community and told them land invasion was against the law.
"You have done a very wrong thing by invading this land and created a serious problem. You are adults, where were you living before you came to this area?" Mabuza asked.
The community told Mabuza that many of them used to work on farms in the area but could not afford to pay for stands.
They conceded that they were wrong to invade the land and apologised to the premier, who listened to their problems.
"There is a serious problem here. Having listened to what you told me today I will bring the municipality and everyone involved next time I come here.
"There is no problem in this world that cannot be resolved," Mabuza told the crowd before he went on a shack-to-shack fact-finding visits.
One of the residents, Flora Sithole, told Mabuza that she did not know where else to go and would not leave a free stand when it was available.
A man who refused to be identified gave Mabuza a tough time, apparently not even being aware that he was the premier.
"Are you coming to arrest me for staying on this land?
"Go ahead, arrest me, but when I come out of jail this is exactly where I'm returning," the man said.