War over open land in Khujwan

11 April 2018  Read: 304

 

There is a silent dispute over land in the Khujwan area where settling in the area remains uncertain. This follows after stands which were offered by the Nkuna Traditional Authority headmen, were demolished by the Batlhabine ba Mogoboya headmen arguing they should be paid money for the stands because the land belongs to them legally.

As a result of the problem over the ownership of the land, members of the community who are buying stands find themselves in trouble because they are not compensated when they had lost property in such incidents. A complainant told Bulletin that he bought a stand from the Khujwana headmen for R3 000 but was confused when another headman came to him and demanded to be paid money for the stand allocated to him.

The man said that when he approached the headman who sold him the stand, he was told that they could not help him because the person who allocated the stand was not around. “When I failed to convince the headman that I would pay them money for the stand, I was shocked to find that the fence of my yard had been removed and thrown away. When we report to the police no action was taken.” said the complainant.

According to a community member from Khujwana who is involved in the allocation of stands in the area, the matter came to a head after the cemetery in Lenyenye became full and land was slotted from the traditional leaders nearby. That sparked a dispute as to who actually owned the land between Moime and Khujwana village. He said a meeting was held at the Muhlaba headkraal where it was reported to all headmen that the area on the Eastern side of the Khujwana tar road belonged to the Bathlabine community. Thereafter a village was established to separate the two areas.

Subsequently, sites were allocated to members of the public at a fee, but when they arrived at Khujwana, a dispute arose as the headmen from those areas could not tolerate the annexation of their area. The walls which were built to announce that stands were on sale and that only who those who could build houses were allowed to purchase there, were demolished. This was followed by the destruction of structures found in stands allocated by the Khujwana headmen.

According to an eye witness, the fences and some structures were demolished during the day and owners of the stands were alerted in time so they could remove their furniture before demolishing could take place. He said the headmen who claimed to have been sent by the Bathlabine traditional authority said they are planning to call a meeting to announce the new developments.

However, comment could not be obtained from the two warring parties as each refused to speak to us using own name. This came in the wake of the government resolving to take the land from the control of the traditional leaders, so it could be better used for the development of own communities. The municipality could not be reached for comment.

— Jan Mafetsa
janmafetsa@gmail.com

 
 
 
 

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