Residents at Fatima RDP settlement and housing contractors in Mokgwadi, Limpopo, had blockaded the Senwabarwana-Mokgwadi Road with burning tires. They want the local Roman Catholic Church to release a piece of land where low-cost houses has been built by the government.
The government has built houses on a piece of land without the consent of the church. The church has ownership of the land. It now wants compensation from the government on the disputed land.
Angry protesters, including residents of Fatima RDP section and contractors, used burning tires and other objects to blockade the busy Mogwadi-Senwabarwana road.
The action has inconvenienced many motorists.
It took hours for the police to remove the barricades.
One of the motorists who was inconvenienced by the action was Doctor, Sizeka Mayewa, who was on his way to attend to an emergency call at a health institution.
“I am a medical doctor by profession and I am helping a friend Dr Pistorious with his patients. I am already late because I started at Dendron with other patients and I am also carrying the medication for the patients and I don’t know how long will this last. Actually, it is inconveniencing the patients more than me because I am not sick but they need to see me so that they can be well.”
Angry residents demanding land block roads in Limpopo:
Spokesperson of the building contractors Stanley Molele says they are affected by the delay in releasing the land to the government.
Molele says the contractors have not been paid as the negotiations between the government and the church regarding the land have not been concluded.
“The protest is all about the father of the Roman Catholic Church. Remember, in our last interview he said he does not want the money, but now he turned around and said he wants the same figure I told you about of R57 million. Then, we just decided to come and close the road because we don’t even get attention from him and government. Our demand is just for this guy to release the land to the king so that everything from government can be fast-tracked. The situation is very bad, people from Bochum can’t pass here.”
Furthermore, Community Spokesperson Melita Raletena says they too are facing challenges as they are not getting services.
Raletena says they don’t have water and electricity.
She says that the local Molemole Municipality is unable to deliver basic services due to the ongoing land dispute.
“We lack basic services. The electrification services has been halted. We have blockaded the roads because the government does not pay those who build the houses. We are staying there comfortably because father does not want to sign the documents to release the land. This has stopped everything, we don’t have toilets, we don’t have roads.”
Meanwhile, Bishop Jerry Masela of the Roman Catholic Church says he is surprised by the protest the negotiations are ongoing between the church and the government on the disputed piece of land.
“We are surprised because according to us, the process for the government to acquire the land is actually on course. On our side, we have made a decision to release the land to the government so that the process can actually start. And maybe because of delays, people are getting frustrated.”
A police contingent has been deployed to monitor the situation.