28 November 2023

Our land invasion terror morning that was usually begun routinely with the sounds of hummingbirds, swaying trees and the warmth of sunlight was now replaced by a morning where I was woken up with the abruptly unpleasant sounds of hundreds of individuals – many of whom could see me laying in my bed – chopping down trees next to my fence, cussing profusely and instilling blatant fear towards my family with the displaying of dangerous weapons which were not concealed.

Before Sunday, I had no idea what it meant when people said they “live in constant fear”. I only fully understood this until I saw it in my teary-eyed mother when she had looked to me and said “Zaakirah I can’t sleep in my night dress tonight; just in case I need to run in the night”. Our once stable lifestyle has drastically changed overnight.

Although the way here is severely under maintained, the land I live on is definitely a sight for sore eyes. The complex that I reside in is steeped well into a nature reserve with a stream passing through. I’d go as far as saying it’s a diamond in the rough.

Riddled with fear, I finally decided to take a long-awaited stand to fight for my safety and made my way to the Mayor’s office at City Hall. So much so, the conflict from the outside world now found its way into my home and sparked conflict between my folks and I. They feared that regardless of my intentions, I’d be a target for taking a stand for this unjustness.

Unfortunately, although this land is privately owned, the residents of this area have been faced with a volatile situation since, whereby, hundreds of trespassing individuals have destroyed many areas of the nature reserve and have allocated themselves housing plots on the privately owned land for illegal use. Along with others that reside in this area, the issue of land invasion has now found settlers three away from my fence.

In the same breath, whilst I understand the need for urgent housing, it should be obtained through the legal process and in a manner that does not allow trespassing individuals to forcefully allow themselves into private properties that rightfully belongs to someone else and endanger the lives of elderly folks and young children. Apart from the crime, the illegal connection of electricity, water and the continuous power disruptions, damaged cables, power boxes and CDU transformers is a continuous loss of revenue to the state.

Furthermore, it is not only grossly unfair to be forcefully suffocated by a system that forces you to have to face the music on your own, it is also a violation of our constitutional rights. Law abiding, tax-paying citizens should be protected, but so should the less fortunate. There has always been a consistent lack of support by the relevant authorities and municipal departments towards ward 23. We’re a forgotten community. How much more do we have to lose to be heard?

Zaakirah Chenia

Clare Estate




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