Limpopo Roman Catholic Church at center of Senwabarwana land dispute protest – SABC News
Residents of Fatima RDP encampment and housing contractors in Mokgwadi, Limpopo, had blocked the Senwabarwana-Mokgwadi road with burning tires. They want the local Roman Catholic Church to hand over land to the government where low cost houses have been built.
The government built houses on land without the consent of the church. The church owns the land. He now wants compensation from the government on the disputed land.
Angry protesters, including residents of the Fatima RDP section and contractors, used burning tires and other objects to block the busy Mogwadi-Senwabarwana road.
The action disturbed many motorists.
It took the police hours to remove the barricades.
One of the motorists who was inconvenienced by the action was Dr Sizeka Mayewa, who was on his way to respond to an emergency call at a health facility.
âI am a doctor by profession and I help a friend Dr Pistorious with his patients. I’m already late as I started Dendron with other patients and I also carry the medication for the patients and I don’t know how long it will last. In fact, it bothers the patients more than I do because I am not sick, but they need to see me for them to be well.
Construction contractors spokesperson Stanley Molele says they are affected by the delay in handing over the land to the government.
Molele says the contractors were not paid because negotiations between the government and the church regarding the land were not concluded.
âThe demonstration concerns the father of the Roman Catholic Church. Remember, in our last interview he said he didn’t want the money, but now he turned around and said he wanted the same number I told you of R57 million. Then we just decided to come close the road because we don’t even get the attention of him and the government. Our request is simply that this guy hand over the land to the king so that everything related to government can be speeded up. The situation is very bad, the people of Bochum cannot pass here.
Additionally, community spokesperson Melita Raletena says they too face challenges as they are not receiving services.
Raletena says they have no water or electricity.
She says the local municipality of Molemole is unable to provide basic services due to the ongoing land dispute.
âWe lack basic services. Electrification services have been interrupted. We blocked the roads because the government does not pay the people who build the houses. We stay there comfortably because dad does not want to sign the papers to clear the land. It 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 protests against the ongoing negotiations between the Church and the government on the disputed ground.
âWe are surprised because, in our opinion, the process of acquiring the land by the government is underway. For our part, we made the decision to cede the ground to the government so that the process can really start. And maybe because of the delays, people get frustrated. “
A contingent of police has been deployed to monitor the situation.