The landgrab issue
Is it the real issue?
Northam – Northam became subject to the latest spat of illegal landgrabs in South Africa on Saturday 4 September.
The Northam Police received a report on Saturday morning about people busy occupying land on portion 127 of the farm Koedoedoorns 414, next to the Northam landfill site.
Northam Vispol commander captain Zazayokwe and several police officers responded to the scene, using a megaphone to warn the trespassers who scattered in all directions. The police were once again called out to the same site for the same reason demarcating the land on Tuesday 7 September. This time they arrested 16 people for trespassing and detained them at Northam police station.
The Thabazimbi Local Municipality (TLM) approached the Northam Magistrates’ Court for an urgent interdict preventing the respondents from allocating stands on the property to members of the community or erecting informal housing on the site.
The interdict was presented during the accused’s court proceedings on 7 September where they were each granted R500 bail.
“The TLM has noted with concern the unlawful and illegal invasion of land next to the landfill site. We would like to state that any illegal land invasion and illegal land grabbing are not endorsed by the municipality, and it will not be tolerated.
The municipality would like to notify all members of the community that any and all illegal land grabbing or illegal land invasion will be opposed with all legal recourses available,” said TLM acting municipal manager Gladwin Tloubatla.
The accused has until 23 September to state any reasons why the interdict should not be made a final order of court.
This is not a first for Northam. In August 2018, Platinum Busvelder reported on a group of approximately 30 men and women who laid claim to a farm in Koedoesdoorn, about 1 kilometre outside of Northam.
The motives behind illegal land grabbing varies from town to town and province to province.
Most of the time political incitement is behind the scenes of these incidents, but the reasons for people participating in them are usually not political.
The Platinum Bushvelder has spoken to a landgrabber or two over the past few years, and mostly they just want to be heard, being fed up with their circumstances. They want to have a say in their destiny, a job and a future... but most of all they want water.
At the end of 2020 the government (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) allocated 121,567ha underutilised and vacant state land in Limpopo as part of the government’s contribution to the land reform programme.
It was supposed to be advertised in local newspapers...
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