The Mpumalanga government says invasion of land is a criminal offence and those who do it will face the full might of the law.
The Mpumalanga government has raised concerns about the increasing incidents of land invasions and disputes in the province. MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Busi Shiba raised this during the official opening of the House of Traditional Leaders in the provincial legislature in Mbombela.
Shiba says that in most cases, people illegally occupy the land and later demand basic services that include water, road infrastructure and electricity.
The chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, Inkosi Sandile Ngomane says the matter is giving them sleepless nights. According to Ngomane, some of the herdsmen are responsible for the mushrooming of land invasions. He feels the law has to be strengthened to fight land invasions.
“We are unable to control our own traditional leaders, the Izinduna we put them there, we can take the blame. They are the ones doing these things, in many instances, you find these powerful people just coming out and saying ‘I am going to take this land, Bukhosi can’t do anything, I am powerful’. They then cut the stand,” said Ngomane.
Shiba has also warned those who defied the government and conducted initiations schools, despite restrictions placed to mitigate the spread of COVID -19. Shiba urged law enforcement to act swiftly on illegal initiation schools and land invasions. She added that it must be repeatedly stated that land invasion is a criminal act and must be curbed with the full might of the law.
“We understand the plight of some of our communities who need land for residential purposes. In addressing this need, the Department of Human Settlements working closely with CoGTA and municipalities are attending to these matters in the most appropriate and legitimate manner,” said the MEC`
She also reminded traditional leaders that Ummemo traditional ceremony, initiation schools, remain suspended until the government advises otherwise to fight the spread of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Other provinces also experienced the same problem with some initiation schools operating despite the government’s suspension:
Shiba said proper processes in addressing the matter are being incorporated for planning purposes by her department at a national level.