The department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform remains blissfully unaware of the invasion of state land located near the former pineapple research station on the Mount Coke Road.
Last week’s media report that the Agricultural Research Council attained two court orders to prevent the illegal occupation of the land contradicts a response to a legislature questions I received from the department regarding the invasion of the land.
In response to the question (dated 21 August 2014) regarding whether or not the land had been earmarked for any social housing development projects or informal housing settlements the department asserted that “verifications conducted by the department revealed that there were no social housing projects on portion 4 of the land”. For the reply, click here: Hon Trollip response to question 46_IQP 11-2
The department gave the assurance that there were no social housing development projects or informal settlements on the land, stating that “they had not taken any steps to prevent the settlement of persons on this land.” The evidence however proves quite contrary to what was stated in the response.
The issue has clearly been overlooked and understated by the department and it is clear that the officials tasked with investigating the allegations did not bother to inform themselves about what was actually happening on the ground.
The DA calls for former Buffalo City Metro ANC-councillor Nokuvela Ngubelanga to be held accountable for her part in the alleged sale of land to those who are illegally invading and occupying this land.
It is unacceptable that MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane has either been misled or has not bothered to verify the information given to him regarding the invasion of the said land. The recently passed “Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act” prohibits unplanned spatial development anywhere in the country. The fact that this is happening under the nose of the department on its own land in the confines of the Buffalo City Municipality is entirely unacceptable.
This scenario unfortunately reflects the ANC government’s attitude towards dealing with contentious issues that require unambiguous leadership. This laissez faire attitude ultimately gives rise to service delivery protests because the government allows the unlawful occupation of land and is then unable to provide services to those communities.
The DA believes that this matter needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and the ANC government must ensure that the relevant legislation is implemented in order to safeguard property of the state and any affected neighbouring property.