By Albert Nxumalo
Villagers from ward 6 in Mguza district who claim to be facing imminent eviction from their ancestral land have vowed to resist the move.
The villagers from Thokozani line say they are being told to wind up their activities and vacate their homesteads for “outsiders”.
According to the village head, Jacob Ngwenya who has occupied the land since 1965 said the ward has more than 300 homesteads with an average of five family members.
During a tense meeting on Wednesday, attended by close to 100 villagers, Mguza Rural District Council officials were accused of hatching a plan to evict the villagers.
CITE could not immediately establish who is the intended beneficiary of the land.
“Most of us have been in this land since 1965. Our late Paramount Chief (Khayisa Ndiweni) gave us this land after signing agreements with former British Prime Minister (Margaret) Thatcher,” said Ngwenya.
“Now people from council are telling us we must move out claiming the land is not occupied and pave way for other people.
“Our message is simple, we are not moving an inch.
“If that happens (moving out) which we doubt, we will only do so with the graves of our forefathers,” vowed the village head.
Area councillor identified as Mnkandla who is accused of spearheding the eviction drive reportedly told villagers that he wont attend the meeting as he was not officially invited.
He would not respond to inquiries from CITE when sought for comments on Thursday.
Villagers said they are struggling to prepare their fields due to intimidation as they routinely find their fields pegged by unknown people.
They said they recently benefited from the Presidential Input scheme and are now contemplating selling the donated maize seeds and other implements.
“How do I plant when council officials want to evict us. We want this matter to be known by our Member of Parliament, Lands minister and the President,” said Pauland Mathe.
“If they all fail to solve this matter then God must intervene,” Mathe told the meeting.
Another villager who refused to give her name advised the alleged ‘invaders’ to be prepared for war.
“All my children were born here and am a widow now. Am told to leave and make way for someone from another province. Where do they expect me to go to?
“Its painful. We will die here. When these people come (to take over land) let them come knowing that there would be bloodshed.
“Its either us who have roots here who will die (fighting) or it will be them, let then know they will be corpses here, we are waiting for them,” she declared.
Another elderly villager Albert Ngulube also vowed to ‘die fighting’.
“We are not moving from here and that’s my word of advise,” said Ngulube.
“If council officials illegally collected money (from invaders) to buy vehicles they should quickly return it. We will reveal more details that will torment them.
“They are trying all tricks to intimidate us but we are not moved by that. We are only concerned with preparing our fields,” added Ngulube.
Other villagers said if they do move, they will demand to be evicted with the “graves of our forefathers”.
They expressed concern that the eviction drive only surfaces during the rainy season when they are in the process of planting.
This publication was shown vast tracks of land already cultivated.
Mguza Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Collen Moyo was not picking calls and did not respond to messages sent to him.