IN a bold case of forced land confiscation in Nelson Mandela Bay, councillors yesterday gave the go-ahead for the expropriation of three erven in Blue Horizon Bay.
The land will be expropriated in order to fix the dire stormwater drainage problem in Blue Horizon Bay following severe damage caused by heavy floods in December 2004.
In a report to the human settlements portfolio committee, acting executive director Dawn McCarthy said the run-off caused by the heavy rain was life-threatening. The three erven are 394 and 395, as well as units 5 and 6 on erf 389 – unccupied townhouses and a community hall.
"The effect of the run-off resulted in extensive damage to residential property, motor vehicles and a community hall, which filled with sand that flowed down the dunefield ravine flanking the town on the east," McCarthy said.
"Over the past three years, three less severe storms of lower intensity have also resulted in destructive flows of sand which will occur indefinitely unless action is taken.
"Erf 389 was registered as a residential sectional title scheme in the early 1990s and is located in the alluvial fan, which is the mouth of a dry river that turns into mudflows when a rain- storm occurs."
McCarthy said several attempts to negotiate with the owners of the land to sell the erven to the municipality were unsuccessful. "We entered into a negotiation and all attempts to reach an agreement have been rejected outright."
She said the properties would continue to be flooded if there was no urgent intervention "due to the unstable nature of the watercourse".
The municipality wants to acquire the land to install engineering infrastructure to prevent future claims should the area be flooded again.
Councillors at the committee meeting wanted to know if the municipality was confident that it had done everything possible to acquire the land with consent.
But McCarthy said her department was confident that it was acting well within the Expropriation Act. "The matter has been handled by lawyers and from a legal perspective we are covered. We would be putting ourselves up to possible litigation if we do not deal with the issues."