The Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements has condemned individuals or communities that resort to illegal forms of acquiring land and other services provided by government. This – in its view – undermines and deters government’s efforts of co-ordinated planning. A recent incident saw the people from GaNala formerly known as Kriel in eMalahleni Local Municipality attempting to invade land, demanding houses. MEC Speedy Mashilo swiftly intervened by engaging the disgruntled group or community to find a lasting solution to their plight.
“The urgent need for land cannot be over emphasised, however, illegal acts of land invasion hamper our planning and the general drive for eradication of informal settlements”, stressed Mashilo. He also invited the general public or potential beneficiaries to register their needs for stands and houses with their respective local municipalities. This will help government to have the actual backlog for stands as well as improve its planning and land acquisition priorities.
Part of the intervention saw Mashilo advising the community that in responding to their needs for stands, the Department has received Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (SPLUMA) approval for Farm Ruitkuil 559 IS. This means that the township establishment has been approved and general plans must ensue. “Illegality and violence is not a sustainable response to access suitable and habitable land. The Department has already finalised township establishment processes and the township has been proclaimed”, he charged. It is anticipated that the said township will see a yield of at least 5000 stands, which brings a lot of relief in the backlog of stands and housing needs in the area.
In its continued efforts for acquisition of suitable land and release thereof, for settlements purposes the Department had planned to acquire 13 pieces of land over the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2019 – 2024. Thus far, eight pieces of land have since been purchased by the Department for human settlements purposes. They include among others: Zandfontein in Govan Mbeki; Outshoonstroom and Burhrmanns in Msukaligwa; Esparado, Karino, Farm Biggar in Mbombela; and Loueville in Nkomazi. The Department’s new approach is to focus on rapid release of land by servicing stands to encourage self-built by beneficiaries.