Lawley community rises up against land grabs

More than 200 residents of Lawley in Johannesburg took to the streets at 01:00 on Wednesday to protest the occupation of open land in Ennerdale Ext 9, saying that land grabbers have residents living in fear.

"They are threatening the lives of our people. We do not want these people here because they are bringing social ills to our community," community leader Joseph Mabala told News24.

The open land in question is earmarked for development.

The community believes that the land grabs started when Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements Uhuru Moiloa announced that the open space would attract investment.

"These outsiders have come here to erect shacks. Why? It is because they know that this land is going to be developed and low-cost housing as well as RDP housing will be placed here," Mabala said.

According to 18-year-old Asiphe Mkwebula, land grabbers have affected basic service delivery.

"I am here today because the illegal land occupiers have affected our access to water and electricity. They have brought nothing but crime to our community and even stopped children from going to school," the disgruntled teen told News24.

Police confirmed that the group of protestors agreed with Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers to submit an affidavit, arguing for the removal of shacks erected next to houses within the community.

"The community see shacks being built near their homes and want them to be demolished until the interdict is enforced. However, this process must be done in a lawful way," Captain Kay Makhubela told News24 at the scene.

No arrests have been made and no injuries have been reported to authorities, he added.

Police were expected to continue to monitor the situation until it returned to normal and local routes, which have been barricaded, were opened again.

(Canny Maphanga, News24)

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