This was one of the racial slurs allegedly hurled at the residents on Lucania Road in Puntans Hill who were confronted by violent and incensed land invaders who stormed some private properties and laid siege to the land on Women’s Day, last Thursday.

Speaking to the Weekly Gazette, a resident said, “The Lucania Road area is inhabited by many pensioners. These land invaders broke down the fence and burnt it. They proceeded to uproot about 80 banana trees which were on the land and burnt it, as well as destroying the lemon and guava trees also. They then demarcated the area and proceeded to erect their structures. When questioned about what they were doing, they replied, ‘It’s Women’s Day, we are cleaning your garden.’ They ignored residents and carried on with their actions until Ethekwini Secure and Metro Police were contacted and arrived swiftly to halt the process.”

According to the resident, the land invaders believe that they have a right to inhabit the land and claimed that they were unaware that the land is privately owned despite destroying the fence. “The land invaders were addressed by Metro who instructed them to get off the land as they faced criminal charges if they failed to comply. Metro and Ethekwini Secure members on scene removed the structures and the land invaders pelted them with stones,” said the concerned local.

“We are pioneers in this area. Our families came down as indentured labourers and through their blood, sweat and tears bought this land for the generations to come. There is no way that we are going to be chased off our land without a fight. The informal dwellers took over the local school that the pioneers built but they will not take our land that our descendants sacrificed for,” the Lucania Road resident said.

Land invaders also caused havoc on Londonderry Crescent where they demarcated land and erected shacks which were demolished by Metro, Land Invasion Unit and Ethekwini Secure. 

In an interview with Weekly Gazette, Ethekwini Secure Central Cluster chairman, Imtiaz Syed, said, “It is unknown who is the mastermind behind these schemes but we see the same faces present at many of the land invasion incidents across the city. These are organised land grabs. They are people coming from outer lying areas to stake claims on lands in various areas. This group is intent on taking land which does not belong to them. They intercepted Municipal land and now they are invading private properties. Sadly, it appears SAPS will not assist citizens to defend themselves in the light of these land invaders. They question what they must do and for what they must charge them. This is one big mess. Citizen like in the Lucania Road invasion need protection. Elderly residents are vulnerable in this situation. We are mobilizing residents to speak out against these land invasions and hold on to their land.”

Local DA Ward Councillor, Mahommed Hassan Haniff, said, “The situation is very volatile in the area. Shacks were demolished that were unlawfully erected on private properties. We have held a meeting with residents to discuss a way forward. I, personally, addressed the informal dwellers and imparted to them that they are trespassing on private property where people pay rates for the land that they own. Human Settlements was contacted and are monitoring the situation. Residents are fearful as violence can erupt at any time.”

Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has strongly condemned the continuous land invasions in Durban and has vowed to do whatever necessary to stop it.