Open letter to Madam Mayor Patricia de Lille on the Mandela Park Land and Housing Crisis

19 July 2011

Dear Madam Mayor,

While the Mandela Park Backyarders continue to receive no attention from the Western Cape Human Settlement MEC (Bonginkosi Madikizela), private property owners continue to monopolise the land that is already in short supply in Mandela Park. It appears that some officials refuse to learn from their past mistakes of ignoring the poor solely because they have gained politically in the process.

We believe the MEC for housing (Bonginkosi Madikizela) held several secret meetings with the Gugulethu backyarders recently where ANC, ward 97(Councilor Mthwalo Mkhutswana) was invited to discuss the housing development which the department intent to commence in Mandela Park.

For your own information Madam Mayor, “SEBRA” (the company that was employed as developers to unblock both projects 497 and 823 in Mandela Park) once again misused the public funds and then vanished without any accounting of their finances by the department. We wish to put before your office that a few weeks before SEBRA’s disappearance last year in October, they presented us with a letter they claimed to have been written by Mr Madikizela to Mandela Park Backyarders. One of the highlighted sentences in the letter reads as follows:

In the next financial year (2011/12) Mandela Park Backyarders will be prioritised. This meant with the next build order the MEC is committing himself to build houses for Mandela Park Backyarders.”

The said financial year begun on the 31 July 2011 and we assume prior to any execution of any work our community be consulted as part of normal processes. However, there has been zero consultation from Madikizela or his department.

No public meetings have been held to report to the community and all we see that our land being graded and levelled by new developers other than SEBRA. It is very clear to us that the department of human settlement uses a systematic strategy to further divide communities in the name of development. In the case of Mandela Park this is done by both the ward 97 councillor Mthwalo Mkhutswana & the MEC for Human Settlement Bonginkosi Madikizela.

We wish to inform you that the Mandela Park Backyarders are the only democratically elected and recognised structure in our community. We will now call a public meeting where the housing development will be discussed in depth, and then from there we will take action to ensure promises are kept and development does not proceed without us.

We have already written numerous letters to the Provincial Department of Human Settlements. We have no intention to write and further letters to the MEC’s office since they continue to ignore us. We write to your office hoping to achieve consultation, democracy and transparency that you once spoke of prior to recent local government elections.

For more information contact:

Slu – 0714331101
Khaya – 0780241683
Ndende – 0791578844


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