Illegal land grabbing in Extension 39

This week Mafikeng Mail reviews the illegal grabbing of land from the Extension 39 residents - who claims they were called to register for houses in the area called Phase 5 housing development for the residents. The residents, who were fuelled with anger following empty promises of constructing phase 5, expressed their distress regarding housing development in the area, chanting phrases of “Forward with shacks, forward”.
Thabo, one of the residents said: “We want to occupy all the empty spaces in Extension 39 so that the people can build themselves shacks to live in. The reason is we want the government to come to the people. The Ward Councillor told us to register for houses, but until today nothing has happened so, forward with shacks, forward”.


Councillor Comfort Seheri who responded to the illegal grabbing of the land explained the residents was inciting discrimination in the community. “The matter of the Portuguese people occupying houses in Extension 39 had a resolution and even in meeting I have spoken that there was 198 houses that were occupied by Portuguese - because they were the first to register for houses. There is no way that people’s houses can be taken without having a resolution. We came up with a resolution as the municipality that during the week of September 5, the projects that has at aim to help this people with housing development will start - with first home owners before the new owners. I would like to make it clear that as Ward Councillor I have nothing to do with this matter - and it is illegal what these people are doing,” said Seheri.
The concept of land Expropriation without compensation has now brought serious implications on having shacks being built around open spaces located in Mafikeng Township without a proper housing development plan. Land grabbing has become a major discussion topic both in parliament and in public debates. The numerous aspects raised during the process involves social, judicial, political and historical argues, because land is more than an agricultural asset; it’s connected to the evolution of the modern state paradigm and the suzerainty tightly connected to the ownership aspects.
A realistic approach of the magnitude of land grabbing is not easy - due to the lack of accurate information, the absence from records of some of the transactions between legal entities, which often act through their subsidiaries or partner companies.
Mahikeng Local Municipality, spokesperson Yoliswa Tiro responded that the municipality was aware of attempts of illegal land grabbing after sending the Director of Planning and Developing, Thendo Masia who reported that there were no shacks built on site.
“I have engaged with the Ward councillor of Extension 39 who confirmed to us that there was a land dispute over the Phase 5 portion which enabled the project to commence with the development of housing in the area.