By REGINALD KANYANE
The upsurge in land invasion is a ‘matter of concern’ in Taung. This comes after more than fifty people illegally occupied a portion of land in the vicinity of Taung Sports ground for residential purposes.
Now, those ‘land grabbers’ are faced with legal ramifications after the Greater Taung Local Municipality and the Batlhaping Baga-Phuduhucwana Tribal Authority jointly launched a court interdict against them.
However, one of the land grabbers, Oratile Segosapelo said they will not demolish their shacks. Segosapelo said they have been trying to engage with the Baga-Phuduhucwana Tribal Council chief, Kgosi Tshepo Mankuroane for land allocation without any success.
“Mankuroane failed us dismally after numerous attempts to meet with him. We had a futile meeting with him on October 2017. And we are not afraid and we are happy that they took the matter to court.
“I stay at Taung Extension 6 in an RDP house. The place is overcrowded and cannot accommodate us as I stay with my children, wife and siblings. Our government continues to fail us hence we illegally occupied this portion of land,” he said.
The Re Aga Taung Civic Organisation chairperson, Disco Lebitse said: “Our current leadership at the municipality and tribal council fail our community. Those offices are marred with fraud, corruption and maladministration.
“We believe that any unoccupied land needs to be allocated to our people. As a civic organization, we will fight this legal impediment along with our people. We are sick and tired of our current leadership both at municipal level and tribal council.”
Lebitse said they also want Mankuroane being deposed from his chieftainship position. He said they will embark on a peaceful march on the 20th of July 2018, calling for Mankuroane’s removal.
“There are leaders at the council who sold land for self-enrichment. So, we will meet both municipality and tribal council in court on the 16th of August 2018. However, we are not quite sure who will represent the tribal authority as we will ensure that Mankuroane is removed from his position as the chief before then,” he said.
Lebitse said most people need land for residential purposes and refusal to do so will lead to illegal occupation and an increasingly rancorous within Taung.
However, the Greater Taung Local Municipal Manager, Katlego Gabanakgosi said this in affidavit: “During January 2018, I was approached by Kgosi, who informed me that he had been contacted by some Taung residents who wanted to be allocated land for purposes of building residential houses thereon.
“However, Kgosi advised them that the said portion of land was to be developed and has been earmarked for extending the existing local meeting/ sports ground in order to cater for a larger number of people.”
He said due to financial constraints, the progress has been at slow pace but will be speeded up from the beginning of this financial year which will be from July 2018. Gabanakgosi added that although Mankuroane explained the above situation to respondents, they nevertheless insisted that the land be given to then for residential purposes.
“The Taung Sport Ground was congested at the time when former President, Thabo Mbeki visited Taung Community and the people had to jostle in order to just have a glimpse of visiting the president.
“The unlawful occupation of land or giving oneself another person’s land without consent or authorization of the land owner, constitutes a criminal offence in terms of Section 3 Prevention of Illegal Ejectment from Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 and/ or Section 1 of the Trespass Act 6 of 1959 and is accordingly forbidden,” he said.