The JB Marks Municipality of Potchefstroom has long had problems with land invasions, for various reasons including service delivery problems and, according to the statement below, political will and municipal capacity to handle the homelessness and landlessness.

Desperate people have time and again moved onto land not suitable for living. In September 2018 the local municipality issued an appeal on social media to residents who invaded land unlawfully in Promosa, warning them that this area is extremely unsafe as it had been used as an army training base and live explosives had often been found. The municipality also stated that the Department of Defense had to still do a sweep of the area.

DA Caucus Leader: JB Marks Local Municipality, Councillor Hans Jurie Moolman, made the following statement

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) in JB Marks Local Municipality has laid charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice at the local SAPS station following land invasions next to the Agricultural College and PAWS in Potchefstroom.

Members of the public acted on misrepresentations that were not made by the JB Marks Local Municipality following claims that the municipality was moving residents to these areas.

These politically motivated land grabs undermine the rights of the adjacent landowners. The area being occupied is not suitable for residential purposes since there is currently no access to water, sanitation, electricity and other municipal services.

If not addressed, the invaded land will become another one of the JB Marks notorious Baipei areas, where communities live in inhumane and abhorrent conditions without services.

The people who instigated these land invasions failed to inform the public that should the landowners pursue an eviction order then, their housing structures will be demolished and people will incur loss and damage to their properties in the process.

These land invasions are a result of years of mismanagement surrounding the allocation of houses and stands in the JB Marks Local Municipality. For years, there have been allegations that houses and stands are allocated to ANC-connected individuals. This is evident from the total absence of transparency of housing waiting list where names of persons appear, who have been waiting for as long as 20 years to get access to states subsidised housing.

The municipality needs to discourage these actions by ensuring that all individuals who orchestrate land invasions are brought to book and that the fulfilment of the constitutional obligation to provide access to decent housing is expedited.

The DA is acutely aware of the massive housing need, and we understand the desperation people suffer who move to urban centres looking for employment and improved services. Unfortunately, the JB Marks Local Municipality does not have the political will or the capacity to address the issue of homeless and landlessness.

It is for this reason that where the DA governs, we are transparently addressing the issue through the expansion of affordable housing, we are expediting the delivery of title deeds, share equity schemes and land reform projects. Just last year, the DA-led Western Cape government delivered more than 8 000 houses and transferred title ownership to almost 8 500 beneficiaries.

While we understand the desperation of community members and agree that more must be done to assist them, we cannot condone illegal activity. The homeless and landless questions will only be effectively addressed under a DA government in JB Marks. We urge residents to vote DA in this year’s election so that we can get to work in delivering much-needed housing opportunities and basic municipal services to all.”

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