‘Free land for ANC card hold­ers’

‘Bo­gus’ com­mit­tee de­ceives 30 land in­vaders in ward 26

The Witness - - NEWS - SA­BELO NSELE • sa­belo.nsele@wit­ness.co.za

CAN an ANC mem­ber­ship card get you a plot for free on city­owned land?

Well, about 30 peo­ple thought so when they were de­ceived by an al­legedly bo­gus ward com­mit­tee into in­vad­ing ar­eas fall­ing un­der Msun­duzi ward 26.

The ward in­cor­po­rates Prest­bury, Claren­don, Boughton and Black­ridge.

Land at Peace Val­ley and on the edge of Black­ridge and Prest­bury bor­der­ing Mpumuza, were all in­vaded re­cently by in­di­vid­u­als on a piece­meal ba­sis.

Bheka­ma­soka Sha­bal­ala, who ad­mit­ted that he was among a group of four re­spon­si­ble for giv­ing out plots of land in these ar­eas, told The Wit­ness an ANC mem­ber­ship card or a R40 join­ing fee was all that one needed to be given land.

“It was the peo­ple who had started in­vad­ing the land. As the com­mit­tee we then de­cided to help them ac­quire land be­cause we had failed to stop the in­va­sion.

“If you do not have an ANC mem­ber­ship card, you must pro­duce your iden­tity doc­u­ment and a R40 join­ing fee and we will help you,” he said.

Asked why peo­ple needed ANC mem­ber­ship in or­der to be given land, he said the area in ques­tion be­longed to the ANC and also that the com­mit­tee was on a mis­sion to in­crease the ANC mem­ber­ship in the area.

Sha­bal­ala con­ceded that he has been told by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity that the ward com­mit­tee he claims to be lead­ing, is not recog­nised by them or by ANC struc­tures.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Thobeka Ma­fum­batha con­firmed nei­ther Sha­bal­ala or three other mem­bers of the al­legedly “bo­gus” com­mit­tee were mem­bers of the of­fi­cially recog­nised ward com­mit­tee, the elec­tion of which is han­dled by the of­fice of the speaker.

“The mat­ter has been re­ported to coun­cil and we are ad­dress­ing it ac­cord­ingly. The is­sue of land in­va­sion is a crim­i­nal mat­ter and we there­fore view it very se­ri­ously as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” said Ma­fum­batha.

ANC re­gional sec­re­tary Mzi Zuma said the ANC dis­tances it­self from Sha­bal­ala and his as­so­ci­ates.

“Land in­va­sion is anti­ANC pol­icy. That is why the mu­nic­i­pal­ity took a tough stance when there were land in­va­sions in other wards. It is thug­gery and can­not be sup­ported by ANC,” he said, adding that the law must be en­forced against trans­ “Land in­va­sion is anti­ANC pol­icy. That is why the mu­nic­i­pal­ity took a tough stance when there were land in­va­sions in other wards. It is thug­gery and can­not be sup­ported by ANC.” gres­sors.

Ward coun­cil­lor Ross Strachan said the il­le­gal sale and al­lo­ca­tion of land that is un­der the mu­nic­i­pal­ity is a di­rect con­tra­ven­tion of the Un­law­ful Oc­cu­pa­tion of Land Act of 1998.

“Ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal back­ground or eth­nic­ity, the law is the law and can­not be bro­ken. There is a se­ri­ous prob­lem with hous­ing in our city and this needs to be ad­dressed and the cor­rect pro­ce­dures need to be fol­lowed in con­junc­tion with the law,” he said.

“I have urged the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to open up a crim­i­nal case with SAPS/Crime In­tel­li­gence against guilty par­ties and in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther into the land in­va­sion cri­sis swamp­ing our city,” he said.

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