Media: Protests put a stop to housing

Aug 24, 2010 | Michael Nkalane | Sowetan

ABOUT 150 backyard dwellers from Khayelitsha in Cape Town have brought construction of new houses in the area to a complete standstill.

The group wants 50 percent of the houses to be allocated to them.

Silulani Mzimkhulu said they were dissatisfied because backyard dwellers from other townships were prioritised ahead of them.“We were promised 50-50. But none of that is happening. They are building 100 houses for the people of Gugulethu.

“That’s not fair,” he said.

Another Mandela Park backyard dweller, Luvo Vanyaza said their ward councillor, Ryder Mkutswana of the ANC, had not lived up to his promise to set up a meeting with MEC for housing Bonginkosi Madikizela.

“For the past two weeks, Mkutswana has been promising us that we will meet the MEC. The construction must stop until we meet the MEC. We will continue protesting until we strike a 50percent deal with Madikizela. We want him to come and address us,” Vanyaza said.

But Mkutswana told Sowetan he had arranged a meeting with the MEC.

“Only the MEC can give them what they want. As a councillor I don’t have the power to give them houses. The MEC agreed to meet them this week,” he said.

A memorandum handed over at the construction site last week demanded that 50percent of housing in Mandela Park should be allocated to the 3000 backyard dwellers and other vulnerable residents.

The protestors also want Madikizela to negotiate with residents of Mandela Park and to allocate either RDP houses or government-subsidised homes to backyard dwellers.

“Just because some of us have jobs and don’t qualify for RDP housing does not mean we can afford to pay bonds in Mandela Park. All poor residents of Mandela Park deserve public housing.

“We will stop at nothing to make sure that we become the centre of development in Mandela Park.

“The longer the MEC ignores us, the more means we will use to get what we deserve,” read the memorandum.

Provincial housing spokesperson Zalisile Mbali said they have identified three other sites for the backyard dwellers.

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