Residents start to build houses in dry riverbed

The municipality claims the land belongs to the Msogwaba Traditional Authority, not them.

NELSPRUIT – Some people have taken the quest for housing to a new level by building houses in a riverbed.

Stands in Entokozweni East are being sold to private individuals who have taken to building in the Rietbokloop that runs through the settlement. It is located across the road from Tekwane on the KaNyamazane Road from Nelspruit.

RDP houses are visible upon entering Entokozweni East on Vukuzimele Street and towards the west, where there are dirt roads. However, more and more large and luxurious houses are being built near the river. These stands are below the 50-year flood line, with some even located right in the now dry riverbed.

Mr Joseph Ngala, spokesman for the municipality, said they knew the stands in question did not appear on the city planning map, yet private individuals were building below the flood line. He denied that the land belonged to Mbombela and said it belonged to the Msogwaba Traditional Authority.

He added that they knew the necessary infrastructure to support living, such as roads with storm water drainage, and access roads to the houses and garages being built, does not exist in places. In addition, electric cables are being run from legitimate houses over the road on the west, to the new ones in the riverbed.

“The municipality is engaging with the Msogwaba Traditional Authority on the situation as the allocation of these sites is purported to have been by it and that this piece of land in question is under its jurisdiction,” he said.

In answer to questions regarding establishment of the necessary infrastructure, halting the construction and evicting the illegal residents, he said these matters were being addressed by the traditional authority in question. “We hope to find an amicable solution to this problem soon,” Ngala concluded.

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