Working committee on Dann Road squatters falls flat

WARD councillor Jaco Terblanche gives feedback at the second Dann Road meeting at the VET Church on Glenavon Road in Aston Manor on Saturday afternoon.

A working committee put together to address the squatter stalemate on Dann Road lasted not even a month.

According to ward councillor Jaco Terblanche, the committee met once and never again.

Terblanche was addressing a meeting about the squatter camp on November 25, saying he was instructed to establish a working committee with representatives from the community, police, metro police, metro and the owner.

“I established a committee that was meant to meet every Monday, but we had only met once,” said Terblanche.

He said to those present on Saturday that, contrary to what they had been told, there was no eviction application in progress.

“From the previous meeting, we were left under the impression that the process was underway, but it had surfaced there was no such application.

“However, an application to the courts to enforce the by-laws on the property is in progress.”

Marius du Preez, who was elected as community representative, had to come up with a proposal as to what the community could do about the problems at hand.

His proposal that Minnie Attorneys be appointed as pro bono attorneys to represent the community was accepted on Saturday.

It also surfaced at the meeting that a trust fund needed to be established through which the community could contribute towards legal costs.

“There are legal fees that need to be paid, so there has to be a plan in place to ensure that the fees are attended to,” said Terblanche.

“The first legal action to be taken is to take the metro to court in order to get an eviction order, as the municipality can get an eviction order on public and private land.

“The second legal plan of action, on behalf of the community, is for the attorneys to take the land owners to court for loss of income due to the situation.”

The land owners, who were not present at the meeting, sent the following email to Terblanche:

“It has come to my attention that there is inaccurate information currently doing the rounds. These are the facts:

“Fact 1: As declared in all previous affidavits and correspondence, we have never given anybody any permission to occupy, settle or rent on our undeveloped property.

“Fact 2: We have never given any permission to any person, company or council, for the provision of portable toilets. In fact we have forwarded numerous requests to obtain [information] who placed these portable toilets on our property.

“Fact 3: During the meeting on Monday, 13 November 2017, with the SAPS, EMPD, Community Representative, DA Councillor and local security expert (MML – Mike), it was again reiterated and confirmed that we as owners cannot enter our property safely, unless accompanied, with an eviction order issued from the high courts. This matter is now with our advocates.

“Fact 4: As a member of the community, we are frustrated, that any property can be invaded, grabbed and seized so easily. We have no way of preventing any further illegal occupation as SAPS, EMPD, Council and Private Security has had no effect.”

The chairperson of Ekurhuleni EFF, Mampuru Mampuru, said: “These meetings are just a fan club where people bored at home meet and talk but nothing good will come out of that.

“The land owner made it clear he was not interested in that land and people could occupy that land. These people are trying to force the land owner to evict our people because their peace is being disturbed.”

Puleng Sekabate

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