Media: Backyarders call for Housing MEC’s resignation

Tuesday July 26th 2011 – West Cape News

THE Mandela Park Backyarders say they have “proof of corruption” in a Khayelitsha

While RDP house allocations have been the source of protest, such as here in Mandela Park in September last year, investigations find that up to 80 percent of them are not occupied by the rightful owners. Photo: Siyabonga Kalipa/WCN

housing project and have called for the “immediate” resignation of Western Cape Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

The call follows the organisation’s online publication of results of their investigation into the occupation of houses in the Mandela Park Housing Project, of which 150 houses out of a planned 950 have been completed.

In a press statement dated July 23, the Mandela Park Backyarders listed 12 RDP houses they found to be “irregularly or corruptly allocated”.

Mandela Park Backyarders spokesperson Luzuko Solomons said four of the houses remain vacant since being completed in November 2010, five were not being occupied by the rightful beneficiaries, two are occupied by former housing project managers and one is occupied by a foreign national.

“If we can do some investigation why cannot he (Madikizela) do the same?” asked Solomons.

He said this was not the first investigation undertaken by the backyarders, but “whenever we complain to Madikizela of corruption he ignores us”.

The Mandela Park Backyarders are also calling for the final report detailing the department’s findings following a four-month investigation into the occupancy of RDP houses in Philippi’s Samora Machel and Mandela Park conducted last year.

Although the department released preliminary findings in November, which indicated up to a third of all RDP houses in Samora Machel, and an indeterminate number of houses in Mandela Park, were illegally occupied or sold before the state’s eight-year pre-emptive rights clause had expired, the final report has never been released.

Following the findings of their own investigation, the Mandela Park Backyarders have written to Cape Town Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille to intervene.

However, de Lille’s spokesperson Solly Malatsi, while confirming receipt of the letter, said as the Mandela Park Housing Project was an initiative of the province, “the Mayor does not have jurisdiction to act”.

Malatsi said the letter was forwarded to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

Neither Zille nor her spokesperson Tracey Venter could be reached for comment.

Madikizela said the call for his resignation was “a joke”.

He said he was willing to work with any organisation if they had information proving corruption in a housing project, but when he engaged with the backyarders last year, “they were rude and unreasonable”.

“I refuse to engage with the backyarders because they are annoying and act like hooligans.”

Asked why his department had not released the findings of last year’s investigation, he said the circumstances under which the investigation took place were “very challenging” and as a result there were gaps in their information.

“We needed to deal with those gaps before we publish the findings.”

He said the department “welcomes people with information to help us investigate corruption… but we are not going to be used for personal gains”.

In November about 100 backyarders invaded 100 unfinished council houses in Mandela Park, claiming they occupied them in protest against the beneficiaries being chosen from other areas such as Gugulethu, and demanded 50% of the houses be allocated to backyarders.

The illegal invasion lasted about a week before police managed to evict them. — Sandiso Phaliso

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About antieviction

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign was formed on November 2000 with the aim of fighting evictions, water cut-offs and poor health servi
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