About 42 shacks were demolished by the land invasion team in Area 11, Gunguluza in Kariega, on Wednesday afternoon.
The ongoing operation regards unoccupied shacks as those that have no furniture or those that have furniture but no occupants for more than six months.
According to the municipality’s senior Human Settlements official Thembakazi Hlela, some shack dwellers in the area had each built four to five shacks for their children, cousins, uncles, whilst other people had built shacks to rent them out to other people.
According to the chairperson of the Development Committee, Siyabonga Stemele, the decision to tear down unoccupied people’s shacks was taken on 8 October this month in a mass meeting held on R Alexander Road in Gunguluza.
“The masses concluded that we should allow the municipality’s land invasion unit to remove unoccupied structures from among the 3, 000 shacks in this area. The municipality wants at least 960 sites on the land to be serviced.
We have many unoccupied structures that may lead to criminality, such as robbery and rape. We have been knocking at the municipality’s door since we had invaded this land in 2019 and they said they could not provide any services to us because we have intertwined shacks.
“There was an attendance register in that mass meeting where we concluded that unoccupied shacks must be torn down. People had signed the register… in big numbers. Those who are not aware of the meeting are people who don’t stay in Area 11.” he said.
A municipal official at the scene, who refused to be named, told JHR that the wreckage could be fetched at the dumpsite in Despatch if there were people who wanted to claim it back.
“This includes zincs, planks, hardboards, ceilings and roofs.” he said,
The demolition started on Tuesday this week with 22 shacks being demolished. On Wednesday afternoon, there were 20 shacks that were demolished.
The operation will be resumed again on Friday, 29 October 2021.
Ward 45 Councillor Siphiwo Plaatjies said he was not informed of the ongoing operation and did not comment further.
By Thamsanqa Mbovane