Unemployment project leaves Mpumalanga residents homeless

By Staff Writer
Mpumalanga residents left homeless due to project meant to alleviate unemployment.

According to a report, squatting residents in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, were forcefully removed last week, from land that has been set aside for a multi-billion rand project, said to ‘reduce the unemployment’ rate.

The residents expressed their anger at the municipality for their decision to not meet with the residents before evicting them from the land.

Thomas Walters, deputy chairperson of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council and the shadow minister of rural development and land reform, stated: “If a meeting with residents was not a part of a process of managing the situation then it is clearly wrong and potentially infringing on human rights if people got removed without warning or adhering to a process. However, it depends on whether such a meeting was part of a defined process or not.”

The evictions
According to a News24 correspondent, “Some residents of Marite illegally occupied Injaka 267 KU and 273 KU and erected shacks.”

A report highlighted a one of the resident’s accounts. “We feel disappointed by how the municipality handled the situation by removing our shacks before meeting with us,” said a resident who went on to add that they were tired of being homeless and wanted their own space.

Walters stated that such situations could be avoided if there is a better sense of communication between law enforcement and social services and the implementation of defined processes. 
He concluded by saying that removal of any party from a property or land has to be court ordered,” there are requirements of providing humane services (blankets, food, medical services) and usually alternative accommodation (even if temporary).”

The land
The Buckridge municipality, through spokesperson Aubrey Mnisi, in association with the Department of Rural and Land Reform, had reportedly set the land aside for ‘1.5 billion lemon plantation, a waterfront hotel, as well as related infrastructure at the Inyaka Dam.’

The project has aims to reduce the high unemployment rate of 52 % by creating a myriad of job opportunities for the local municipality.

 The municipality in relationship with law enforcement, however, has taken a stance of no mercy as they have promised to prosecute any parties that continue to occupy the land. 

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