The Muslim community of Malibu Village claims that their Masjied structure was torn down just before Jumuah on Friday by the Department of Human Settlements. Some members of the community say that construction on structure began before it was demolished. However, the Department of Human Settlements says the land is owned by the department and is earmarked for development.
Safaa Osman, who claims to be the owner of the property, says that her late husband donated the land and that she’s since been paying rates on the land, up until May, 2016.
“We started erecting a temporary structure for Salah. [But] for the past three weeks, they have been threatening us with demolition. On Monday, May 9, an official from the department came on the property and I explained the situation and even gave a copy of the rates papers. I was told that the demolition is put on hold until the City meets with me. To date, I received no communication from the City. On Friday, May 13, an official came to the property, without a court order and begun demolition,” Osman told VOC.
Osman explained that a lack of funding played an integral role in getting the ball rolling on construction work for the Masjied, which also acts as a soup kitchen.
“We finally got the funding recently and managed to begin the development of a small structure so we can make Taraweeg Salah together as a community in Ramadaan,” Osman added.
Meanwhile, Head of Communications at the department, Nathan Adriaanse told VOC that the said land is in fact owned by the department after the Osman family failed to complete a payment for development on the land some 20 years ago.
“We had a contract with Mr. and Mrs. Osman. They made a particular proposal with the department and didn’t complete the transactions. This department cancelled the contract on the basis of the prescription of the debt. The Osmans then went missing.”
“During this period, they sold the property. The people erecting a Mosque on the premises are acting illegally. The property is earmarked for human settlement development,” Adriaanse further explains.
Furthermore, Adriaanse claims the problem could have been averted if Osman communicated to the Muslim community that the property is no longer under her ownership.
Osman says she’s meeting with officials from the Deeds Office to obtain a copy of the title deeds, which she says was owned by her husband.
VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)