EMLM audit to verify land lease agreements
As part of the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality’s land audit plan, the authority has requested occupants of municipal land and property to provide their verification of lease agreements and deeds of sale, so it can update its records.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, municipal land occupants from Komani, Mlungisi, Ezibeleni, Ilinge and Whittlesea provided their papers for verification to human settlements officials at the Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre.
EMLM human settlements portfolio head Ongama Adonis said an invitation had been issued through public and media platforms for people who had lease agreements for municipal property or land to come forward to have them verified.
He said EMLM wanted to update its records on who was occupying municipal property or land.
“There are pieces of land which were given to certain people which are now occupied by someone else.
“Other occupants had the properties leased to them before 1994 at lesser rates which were at that time compared to the rates which have increased drastically in the past three decades,” he said.
“We want to establish leases that are aligned to the current rates of the municipality for us to have a self-sustainable government institution.”
Adonis said EMLM had a responsibility to be selfsufficient and one of the reasons it was under intervention was that it was not collecting sufficient revenue as required.
He added that there were pieces of land that were occupied by some people who were “safeguarding” it on behalf of the municipality.
“As the municipality we view that as illegal occupation even if the motive of the resident was well-meaning.
“We are calling those people to come forward for us to reach an agreement or to notify them about the intentions of the municipality concerning that land.”
Adonis said if occupants did not come forward to verify their lease agreements with the municipality within the stipulated timeframe, the authority would be forced to take action.
“If people who are occupying the land illegally do not come forth, we will be forced to execute the law but we want that to be our last resort,” he said.
The human settlement portfolio head said Komani, Mlungisi, Ezibeleni, Ilinge and Whittlesea occupants were requested to go to the nearby Thobi Kula Indoor Sports Centre.
Due to the long distance from Komani, he said the verification of lease agreements and deeds of sale process for Molteno and Sterkstroom occupants would be done in those towns.