Court puts temporary halt to eviction of seven

Women face ongoing dispute with traditional leader over piece of land

Nomakhwezi Mthizana-Base, flanked by Nobelungu Lumkwana and Lindiswa Mbiko, are three of seven women whose homes in Zimbane are under threat from a traditional leader and her committee.
Nomakhwezi Mthizana-Base, flanked by Nobelungu Lumkwana and Lindiswa Mbiko, are three of seven women whose homes in Zimbane are under threat from a traditional leader and her committee.
Image: Lulamile Feni

The Mthatha high court has given a reprieve to seven women who were being evicted from their homes by a traditional leader.

Zimbane headwoman Nkosikazi Nosizwe Maxwele is in a bitter feud with Nomakhwezi Mtshizana-Base, Buyiswa Zwedala, Lindiswa Mbiko, Nobelungu, Lihleli and Lelethu Lumkwana, and Mbambeleli Siwaphi over the land they have built their houses on in Zimbane Phase 1, in Mthatha.

After the seven women were instructed to vacate the land, they roped in the Grahamstown-based Legal Resources Centre earlier this year.

And on July 31, the high court granted the seven an urgent interim order and interdicted Maxwele and four members of her traditional council – Onke Nyathi, Vuyani Madubela, Thembisile Mkhanzi and Mteteleli Mkhohli – as well as contractor Sisa Manyadu from destroying the properties and evicting them.

Maxwele believes the women fraudulently obtained the sites after people were moved from Bhongweni Phase 1 to the new Maxwele township in 2008.In her affidavit, MtshizanaBase claims Maxwele instructed people to remove her perimeter fence and build a brick wall. She says they also tried to chase off her tenants.

They were advised that their properties would be destroyed to allow for a contractor to start building on the properties.

Zwedala says her plot was sold to someone who built a house on the same plot.In court documents, Legal Resources Centre lawyer Cecile van Schalkwyk says Maxwele informed the seven in March that they had to leave as the plots had been sold.

“They were advised that their properties would be destroyed to allow for a contractor to start building on the properties. The contractor, Sisa Manyadu, proceeded to destroy the fence around one of the properties and erect a wall,” she says, adding that on July 18 Manyadu destroyed the house of one resident.

Van Schalkwyk submits in the court papers that the land in question belongs to the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality and is the subject of a land claim in terms of the Restitution of Land Rights Act.

“No person may sell, exchange, donate, or develop land that is the subject of a land claim without the written consent of the Chief Land Claims Commissioner.”

Granting the interim order, judge Robert Griffiths said: “The respondents are hereby interdicted and restrained from intimidating, threatening, and evicting applicants from their homesteads and plots in Bhongweni Phase 1.”

The matter will be back in court on August 28, when the headwoman will have a chance to explain why the order should not be made permanent.Maxwele’s attorney, Thanduxolo Qina, said: “We will file opposing papers by the end of tomorrow.”Spokesperson Sonwabo Mampoza promised to find out if the land belonged to KSD.

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