‘Expropriation without compensation meant nothing to me until my land was taken’
Three black Limpopo landowners have forced Police Minister Bheki Cele and Soshanguve station commander Brigadier Samuel Thine to take action against people who invaded their land in Onderstepoort‚ north of Pretoria.
Dr Motodi Samuel Maserumule and his business partners‚ Diphethe Bopape and Kgosi Letsi Phaahla approached the high court in Pretoria on an urgent basis after four farms belonging to their company‚ Akubra Trading‚ were occupied and subdivided.
In the interim draft order handed down on Friday‚ the court ordered the police to restore the property to its owners and that the sheriff demolish any “uninhabited” structures on the properties.
Maserumule said in court papers that the Soshanguve police had refused to open a case when he turned to them for help when their land was seized.
The three businessmen approached to Afrikaner rights group AfriForum on Monday after an office was set up on one of their properties‚ from where stands were initially given away for free and then later for cash for amounts of up to R500.
“I went to the people and told them that I own the property and I have papers for the farm. They were not willing to listen. They looked at [the papers] and said they could be fake‚ so they were not willing to engage‚” Maserumule said.
“We bought the property in 2007; they say they do not have place and they offered me a 40 by 40 [metres] stand for free.”
He said he was not a member AfriForum but the organisation was “God sent” because‚ as soon as they got involved‚ things started moving.
“The station commander started to listen; an hour earlier the station commander was saying there is no way they can open the case. AfriForum has a lot of experience dealing with these cases‚ have a very extensive knowledge base‚” Maserumule said.
Ian Cameron‚ AfriForum’s head of community safety‚ said although the police eventually opened the case after their intervention‚ no action was taken against the invaders and they were forced to go to court.
Maserumule said: “The phrase ‘expropriation of land without compensation’ did not induce a lot of emotions to me until Monday because now it is my property and it is not funny at all.
“There is a bulldozer now scraping a piece of land [for roads] there. There are even more people arriving with building materials‚ just continuing as normal‚” he added.
The police did not oppose the application‚ which was postponed to Friday September 7 for a final decision.