Following an increased number of land invasion incidents taking place across the city recently, eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede urged all ward councillors to be accessible to members of their community if land invasion was taking place, in order to deal with it effectively.

She was speaking at an Executive Committee meeting held on Tuesday. Mayor Gumede said she believes the land invasion incidents are politically motivated. She said in some cases, private property and not municipal land was being invaded, but the city would intervene regardless of this fact.“I urge all councillors to assist residents regarding land invasion. This issue of land invasion is escalating.

There are also allegations that there are some councillors encouraging people to claim land. We are taking these allegations seriously and will deal with those councillors who are found to have encouraged land invasion,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer encouraged the community to remain vigilant and report land invasion incidents to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

“The city’s Land Invasion unit, daily, has its hands full in its endeavour to clamp down on this illicit behaviour. In 2018, the Unit responded to 95 complaints in October, 97 in November 2018 and 43 in December. To date, the city allocates millions every financial year for this unit to discharge its duties religiously. Had it not been for these worrying incidents, this revenue would have been used to carry out other service delivery programmes” said Cllr Peer.

In her conclusion, Mayor Gumede said she was raising the issue at the Executive Committee meeting as it was escalating. She urged land invaders to follow proper processes to get housing while also urging private land owners to engage with the Department of Human Settlements to develop their vacant land or fence it off.

To report incidents, the city has a dedicated telephone number, 031 311 4699, which the public must call and which is manned 24/7.