Lentegeur sports field invaded

Mitchell’s Plain backyarders and tenants mark plots on Lentegeur sports field.

Two Mitchell’s Plain women appeared in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence when they and a crowd of about 100 people marched to the Sub-council office on Monday, October 23.

This followed them invading Lentegeur sports field on Sunday October 22, demanding access to housing.

According law enforcement, approximately 20 plots were marked or pegged.

“There were no injuries, no structures identified or erected; there were no building materials on site,” read their report after responding to a complaint of people taking over the sports field on Sunday.

Yesterday, Tuesday October 24, Riaan Koeberg, chairman of Group 4 Developers, a non-profit organisation, which led the land invasion, said they had met with Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis four times this year to discuss the need for 20 000 Mitchell’s Plain residents to be housed.

“We are frustrated that we have not reached some sort of agreement. There are only 2 000 possible housing opportunities.

“Our people live in backyards where there are no proper toilets, high rental, water and electricity bills. The space is not good enough for our children to grow up in. Our people are unemployed, they cannot afford to stay anyway,“ he said.

Mr Koeberg told the Plainsman that he has been on the housing waiting list for 23 years.

He also argued that one of two housing projects, neighbours to the sports field, would be encroaching on the sports grounds.

“They call it a land invasion. We are just taking of land. The land is just laying there. Several bodies have been brought out of that field because the grass is too long. Rather let people go stay there than to have people killed there,” he said.

He said that the field did not look like a sports field.

The project, located on Highlands Drive, Morgenster and Swartklip roads, was due to provide affordable housing opportunities, but it has been stalled by violence and intimidation on site.

Two years ago, it was hit by four separate shooting incidents and two petrol bombings of construction machinery (“Violence halts construction of houses,” Plainsman July 14, 2021).

In May, the Beacon Valley housing project, promising to build more than 1 800 homes, was put on ice because it would cost more than a third of the R95-million budget just to protect the construction site (“‘Construction mafia’ delay housing project”, May 24).

He said that the mayor blamed extortion and they had spoken to gangsters in the area who have agreed to stay off the site.

Mr Koeberg said that Mr Hill-Lewis did not want to come to Mitchell’s Plain and speak to the community.

“He wants to use housing as a tool for us to vote for them. There is too much political interference. Involve the people. This corruption and tender fraud in the government must stop,” he said.

Mr Koeberg said that following the protest they spoke to Wolfgat Sub-council chairman Solomon Philander and manager Johnson Fetu.

He said they will be electing a steering committee of five people at a meeting at the sports field at 10am on Saturday October 28.

“People who have been on the housing waiting list for up to 40 years will be at the meeting to voice their concerns and long wait for their basic right,” he said.

Avron Plaatjies, councillor for Ward 76, vehemently rejected the land invasion.

“This field is due for upgrade, and so many sporting codes from Lentegeur have been waiting for this moment.

“Nothing will derail us from our mission to rehabilitate Lentegeur Sportfield. We are on high alert for the invaders.

“I want to thank the community of Lentegeur for standing up to this land invasion today,” he said.