Association accuses Gauteng medical university of land grab

A community property association group has accused the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), formerly Medunsa, of using “colonial tactics to grab land” that allegedly belongs to an impoverished community around Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria. 

The Leokeng Communal Property Association (CPA) says Bakgatla ba Leokeng are holders of a legitimate title deed portion 216. This is the land employees of SMU travel across to their campus through the eastern gate of the institution. 

The Leokeng CPA says the portion of land at the centre of their concern is between the eastern border of SMU and the M17 road. 


The organisation says a portion of this land (portion 216) has been illegally dug up by SMU to provide their water infrastructure.

Investing nothing in community

“Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) has chosen to behave like colonial land grabbers, who takes land at will, renders whatever remains unusable, invest nothing in the community they are in,” said Leokeng CPA spokesperson Motlagomang Rakale. 

“Bakgatla ba Leokeng are holders of a legitimate title deed of Portion 216 which is the land that the employees of SMU traverse to enter their campus through the eastern gate of the institution. Our land ownership is recognised by The Department of Land Reform and Rural Development under the Communal Property Association Act.

“The access road used by the University between the eastern border of SMU and the M17 road is neither a public road nor a servitude but part of our land. In addition to this, a portion of this land (Portion 216) has been illegally dug up by SMU to provide their water infrastructure.

Rakale said this has left a huge crater upon which nothing can be built on that portion of land.
Refusing to be engaged in genuine talks

“SMU as a university has to date refused to have genuine discussions with us, the rightful owners of the land even when the university community derive benefit from an asset that is not theirs. SMU refuses to take responsibility for the damage they have done on our land. As a result of this action, the community of the Leokeng CPA has blocked the access road leading into the SMU’s eastern gate,” he said.

Rakale said due to SMU’s actions of “traversing on their land”, the organisation has demanded that there be collaborative efforts with SMU for long term security of “our land and that of SMU”. 


“Recognition from SMU that we are responsible and lawful owners of Portion 216 with title deed and recognition of Department of Land Reform and Rural Development, Deeds Offices, City of Tshwane and others; Social investment from SMU that recognises they are beneficiary of land theft; Basic employment opportunities for the community,” said Rakale.

Rakale said the land that Medunsa now Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University was built on was legally purchased by the group’s forebears.

“The apartheid government forcibly took this land to build MEDUNSA (Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University). With the dawn of democracy, the land claims process settled that dispute by awarding descendants of original owners the piece of land between the eastern border of SMU and M17.

“Over 2 hectares of the plot lies across the road and is between Molotlegi Street and the railway line. This piece of land is jointly called Portion 216. Portion of this land has been illegally dug up by SMU, to provide their water infrastructure. This has left a huge crater upon which nothing can be built,” said Rakale. 

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