The KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) and its members in the Greater Kokstad Local Municipality have expressed concern regarding the apparent orchestrated land invasions, trespassing and illegal occupation of state-owned land that has taken place in the area since July of this year.
Following eviction notices served in both English and isiZulu on 13 July 2022 by the owner of this land, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Kwanalu requests the relevant authorities address the matter urgently.
“We are concerned that this orchestrated illegal land invasion and occupation will impact severely on local businesses causing, loss of business, agricultural productivity, increased risk of fires, crime and associated risks of illegal activity. Kwanalu and its members request that the relevant authorities urgently address this matter. Law, order and respect for property rights must be restored and confidence regained in the Greater Kokstad Local Municipality for economic growth and business investment,” said Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque.
The Greater Kokstad Local Municipality Spatial Plan identifies this land, situated in the Zwartburg and Mount Currie area, as “an ecologically sensitive and valuable resource with potential to be an ecological corridor”.
“Kwanalu and its members; including local landowners, farmer associations, namely the Zwartberg and Mt Currie Associations, have been in ongoing dialogue with both representatives of the local municipality and the landowner, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. The records will show that numerous engagements have taken place and the illegal occupiers have been advised that their occupation is illegal, but this has been to no avail,” said La Marque.
Following Deputy President, David Mabuza’s statement in the National Council of Provinces at Parliament on Thursday, 18 August, the Union has called for a clear emphasis on the consequences of illegal land invasion when addressing these matters in the public domain and request the cooperation of illegal occupants to avoid criminal charges.
“We strongly condemn anyone, whether civic or political, who promotes and encourages illegal invasion of land and properties. Such a posture borders more on encouraging people to indulge in acts of lawlessness. We must be clear that illegal invasions are criminal. They negatively impact on the legitimate rights of individuals and communities to access land, housing, and property in a planned and orderly manner. As leaders, we must act responsibly and ensure that people access the land within Constitutionally-defined processes, rather inciting people to break the law,” stated Deputy President, David Mabuza in Parliament.
“We appeal to the national government to take heed of the realities of the illegal land invasion matter when considering the amendments to the Trespass Act which are in progress. Kwanalu will be making a written contribution to the proposed amendments with the aim of strengthening land rights certainty, upholding the law and creating a sustainable and profitable rural agricultural economy,“ said La Marque.
For more information on Kwanalu visit www.kwanalu.co.za or call (033) 342 9393.