The Minister of Lands and Housing, Mr Prince Maele has cautioned residents of Mc Cathy’s Rust against squatting.
Addressing a kgotla meeting at the village on Monday July 27, Minister Maele said it has come to his ministry’s attention that some people were illegally occupying land in the village, and warned that those who were practicing such illegal behaviour should stop.
The minister informed residents that land board officials could not allocate them plots because their area has not yet been declared a village.
“Those that have plots already should know that they have been allocated that land by mistake and should cease developing it,” said the minister.
He urged residents of Mc Cathy’s Rust to work cordially with land board officials. He said they would determine how those with land acquired it, and that in future if the need to declare the area a village, it would be easy for them to do that.
For their part, residents decried the lack of good working relations with land board officials.
They pointed out that officials have a tendency of coming to their village without prior arrangement with village authorities. They added that they do not even use the kgotla although aware that the kgotla was the only place where village matters were handled.
The youth said they were skeptical about the minister’s request to stop developing their plots because they were born and raised in the village.
Furthermore they said due to their situation they could not utilise government progammes and do not have basic necessities such as water.
The area Member of Parliament, who is also Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Frans Van der Westhuizen reiterated Minister Maele’s words that residents should cooperate with officials so that they may be helped.
He said they were aware that some of them have been in the area since 1940 before land boards were introduced, and that it was for that reason that he has been pleading with the government to be compassionate.
The MP pointed out that although the area has not been declared a village yet, residents continue to benefit from some government initiatives such as Ipelegeng.