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IOLProperty - South African Property For Sale
Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Illegal building on Dunn property torn down

A house built illegally on land given by Zulu king Cetshwayo to his trusted Scottish adviser, John Dunn, more than a century ago was demolished yesterday.

The house before demolition.

The property is still owned by descendants of Dunn, but they have faced ongoing land invasions in recent years.

Yesterday, the sheriff of the court, accompanied by a heavily armed contingent of police, flattened the home belonging to Gugu Hlongwane.

Hlongwane was not at home but was working in Pietermaritzburg when the demolishers arrived early in the morning.

Her caretaker, Zandile Ndlovu, was terrified and fled the scene in her nightie, only to return later to see what she could salvage.

Eshowe Magistrate's Court sheriff Jack Kock, who was also armed, pushed open the sitting room door as Ndlovu was preparing to have breakfast.

"I saw men holding guns and I just ran away without looking back. I was only wearing my nightdress and no shoes," said a shaken Ndlovu.

The police's tactical response team and private security officers were outside and stood guard while the sheriff did his work.

"I was standing far away and watched as they were throwing furniture and appliances out of the house," said Ndlovu.

"This house had just been completed. One ceiling board was left. It had two bedrooms, a lounge, a kitchen, toilet and bathroom. What a waste," said Ndlovu.

Soon after the sheriff left, Hlongwane's neighbours gathered at the scene to express anger and fear of their own eviction, as they had occupied the land illegally.

The landowner, Kenneth Saker, one of Dunn's descendants, had repeatedly warned Hlongwane against the land invasion. Hlongwane previously lived on the land with her late husband but left after he died.

Inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba admitted last month that he had given Hlongwane permission to occupy the land without consulting Saker.

Saker had papers from the Durban High Court preventing the invasion of his land.

Mthunzini sheriff Samke Mthiyane had also tried several times to warn Hlongwane that she was breaking the law.

She later admitted that she could not carry out the eviction as she feared that community members would make it impossible for her to continue working in the area. The SA Board for Sheriffs then appointed Kock to carry out the order.

Saker said he was disappointed that the matter had ended with the demolition of the house. He said Hlongwane should have heeded the warnings.

"It did not have to end like this. It does not make me happy that such an unfortunate thing took place. We have a very good relationship with the local community. These (Hlongwane) people are strangers here and I don't know them," he said.

Mathaba said Hlongwane was enraged by the sheriff 's actions. He said Hlongwane had been left homeless.

"Her rights have been violated. Where do they want her to live? This is going to sour the relationship between the community and them (Dunns). We have to take action to correct this," said Mathaba.

Hlongwane could not be contacted last night because her phone was off.

It was reported last night that a police van was sent to the area, where a group of residents had blocked the road with rocks in protest against the demolition.

The Mercury

 
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