Kriel invasions averted

"The only promise that I can make to you is that we will drive this matter as much as we can but only in a legal way. Not in a way that transgresses the laws of South Africa.”

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The Bulletin News
Land invaders next to Kriel Photo suppliede by DA Cllr Dirk Grobler

Sunday morning (19 August) saw Kriel becoming the latest victim of the wave of nationwide land invasions.
A group of people moved to land adjacent to Kriel and started to peg out stands. The farmer tried to open a case but was initially given a cold shoulder. A case was eventually opened and Police had to respond.
The crowd of approximately 150 people gathered around the police, farmers, Afriforum and councillors. The crowd claimed that the farmer agreed to share half the farm with them for housing. The Acting Station commander asked the farmer to verify the claims. Even in the threatening situation, the claims were denied by the farmer. The farmer pointed out to the police as well as the occupiers that the land is not suitable for housing as underground mining operations will commence there in the near future, making it unsafe to build any structure in the area.
The crowd slowly grew to about 300. It is alleged that some of the crowd don’t even reside in Kriel or nearby. Some members of the crowd became very emotional and were difficult to reason with.
It was then decided that the occupiers should choose 5 representatives and that the negotiations should move to the police station.
At this stage, the farmers withdrew themselves apart from the crowd and just observed the situation.
At the police station, the situation was easier to discuss and negotiate. The acting station commander pointed out to the representatives that if they return to the land at this stage, she would have to enforce the law as a case had been opened for trespassing.
It was also pointed out that the Public Order Police Services are on their way to restore law and order.
The land invaders stated to the police and councillors that they don’t want to violate any laws but that they are tired of all the empty promises made by the ruling party (ANC). Kriel has been neglected for a very long time. New housing is being built in other areas and if anyone would like to benefit from the housing schemes they should move away from Kriel.
It was then agreed that a memorandum would be drawn up, demanding that the situation receive the attention it deserves and that land be made available for housing. The Mayor of eMalahleni should respond within seven days.
Democratic Alliance Councillor Dirk Grobler stated to the Bulletin that they have repeatedly warned eMalahleni council that Kriel is being totally neglected as far as RDP and stands are concerned.
“One example is the 6 Churches that have been pleading for years to have a place to worship but to no avail,” said Dirk.
Dirk further stated that he told the land invaders that “the only promise that I can make to you is that we will drive this matter as much as we can but only in a legal way. Not in a way that transgresses the laws of South Africa.” He further expressed his appreciation that the meeting concluded in a positive manner without any violence or damage to property.
Some of the people alleged that a previous ANC Councillor, Cllr Mahlangu is behind the latest invasions. He has been observed making lists of the people.
The country has seen a wave of land invasions since the calls for appropriation without compensation were made. The calls by EFF leader Julius Malema to take land might also have added fuel to the newest spate of invasions.

The Bulletin NEws
Land invaders at Kriel
Photo supplied by DA Cllr Dirk Grobler

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