A group of Galeshewe residents have started marking sites for shanties to be erected on a piece of land on Twalu and Royal streets.“We inquired and we were told that the land belongs to the municipality and it forms part of the proposed by-pass road.”
IN YET another land invasion in Kimberley, community members of Ward 33 in Chris Hani Park started clearing an open piece of veld yesterday, where they vowed to start a new informal settlement, named “Scandal”.
Community members waited in vain on Monday to meet with the Sol Plaatje executive mayor, Patrick Mabilo.
The residents said they had a meeting with the mayor’s office in May this year regarding the large, open piece of land in the area, which they pointed out had become a notorious hot spot for crime.
“There are always robberies and murders going on there and even babies that are dumped.”
According to the residents they have been asking the Sol Plaatje Municipality for permission to erect shanties on the vacant land for more than six months already, but they have to date received no response.
“We never heard back from the executive mayor. We also went to the ward councillor and asked him to clear the area so we could erect shacks. Our children and the elderly are not safe with this open piece of land that is teeming with all sorts of elements.”
They stated that the land had been vacant since 1999.
“We enquired and we were told that the land belongs to the municipality and it forms part of the proposed by-pass road.”
According to the residents, they had come together as a community and decided that the matter needed to be resolved once and for all.
“No one is coming forward with answers for us. We have already lost two soccer fields, where our children used to play, because shacks have been erected on the fields.
“We want this land, even if it is only a temporary solution until the municipality can identity and develop other suitable land.”
They pointed out that on Saturday someone was robbed and stabbed in the veld.
“The only reason people haven’t come from elsewhere to erect shacks here is because we have looked after the area and have chased these people away. Our resources, however, are now run down and that is why we are taking this decision to erect our shacks here. Our patience is wearing thin. We are good citizens, well-behaved and disciplined but now we have to ask why our requests have not been heard.”
One community member, who said she lived adjacent to the open area, pointed out that she could not sleep at night because she was afraid of becoming a victim of crime.
The residents were yesterday busy clearing the area of rubbish, measuring out plots and starting to erect structures. They indicated that around 150 shacks would soon be erected.
“We are taking back our land. This is not a political issue, this is about the safety of our community and giving families a place to stay.”
Keeping with the tradition of naming new informal settlements in Kimberley after television soapies, the residents had decided to name the area “Scandal”.
“We came to this name not only in keeping with the tradition of naming our settlement after television soapies but also because what is allowed to happen here by the Sol Plaatje Municipality is a complete scandal.”