Mandela Park Backyarders Press Statement
A few days ago, Madikizela attacked the Backyarders in a press statement after we found new evidence of corruption and calls for his resignation were published in the Cape Times.
First and foremost, it is important to give a clear picture that will clarify our position as the Mandela Park Backyarders for the benefit of those who don’t follow the housing crisis in Mandela Park.
Our response We, the Mandela Park community, call for Human Settlements MEC of the Western Cape Bonginkosi Madikizela to produce the minutes of his supposed meetings with the Mandela Park Backyarders. We all know that those meetings with the Backyarders never existed. But he has lied and said that these meetings have recently taken place. He has continued to met with some of the Khayelitsha community, but never with us.
We, the Mandela Park community, call on Madikizela to not only do something about the Quick Project investigation into Project 493 (RDP houses) which found significant instances of corruption (which Madikizela refuses to do anything about), but also to investigate all other instances of corruption in all housing projects within Mandela Park. In his press statement, Madikizela claimed that the 12 houses that we have found to be corruptly allocated, were part of Project 493. He is wrong. The 12 houses which we found to be irregularly allocated are not part of the survey the MEC claims, they belong to a new project (unknown to residents in Mandela Park as we were not consulted) which began last year when beneficiaries were unlawfully allocated incomplete structures contrary to housing code.
We must remind our the public and the media that the MEC is supposed to be a public servant to the people of the Western Cape. We are not his servants. We are protected by law which says that all public servants, including those that deal with housing, must meaningfully engage with affected community members even if that public servant doesn’t want to do so. This is the result of Concourt cases such as Grootboom, Olivia Road and Joe Slovo. In calling us hooligans, selfish and ignoring our legitimacy in the eyes of the community, Madikizela acting illegally and in contravention with the constitution.
We are convinced that his personal attack against the Mandela Park Backyarders is an attempt to stamp out the truth about his failure to deal with nature and complexity of the Mandela Park housing crisis. This crisis began years back, long before he became the MEC, but he continues with the same policies as his predecessors.
False promises and lies
In his public address in September 2009, Madikizela promised that in his next project in Mandela Park, the Backyarders will be accommodated.
Again in October last year the MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela sent a letter addressed to Mandela Park Backyarders via his developer, SEBRA, which said that in the next financial year (2011-12) Mandela Park Backyarders will be prioritized (we have the letter to prove this).
It must be made clear now, the above empty promises as well as other promises were never fulfilled by the MEC. He has refused time and time again to honor his words.
The MEC is misleading members of the public and those who don’t follow the whole story can easily find themselves on the wrong side.
Bond houses integrated with RDP houses
It seems to us that there is attempt by government to create what experts call ‘integrated communities’ with varying income levels living side-by-side. We see integration is a good thing because it counters segregation and separation of people.
However, what the Human Settlements Department is doing in Mandela Park is not really integration. The majority of those who live in bond houses in Mandela Park are only slightly better off than the poor Backyarders. They are still poor. Therefore, our government essentially has a policy of integrating the poor with the slightly less poor.
Yet, when we ask for houses to be built in rich communities such as Bishops Court or Camps Bay, this becomes impossible. The government is happy to lower the value of the cheapest bond houses by building RDP housing at its side. However, integration with rich white communities is off the table. Our government is clearly against meaningful integration and desegregation of our communities.
As a result, we have increased levels of corruption with a large number of unqualified people (such as bank managers, police officers, construction managers) occupying and renting out RDP houses in the hope that one day they will be able to sell this land for profit. You also have huge numbers of families who pay much more than the decreased value of their house to the banks who are not affected by these property prices. This is just another way to hand over profit to developers and banks.
Our position as a community-driven movement
We are social justice activists. This means our task is to hold those in power accountable for all injustices in our communities. If we see people excluded in a development happening in their community, we will to raise this issue that without any fear of being vilified by government officials.
The MEC is not only refusing to recognize the Mandela Park Backyarders, but the community in general has also been denied access to know what is going on. In refusing to consult the Backyarders, he is refusing to consult with the entire community.
We warn of such leadership style that focuses on selective memory. Madikizela is serving a system that had always benefited from the mystification of the way society works – this is of a serious matter. His attack of our leadership and attacks on our movement will only encourage us to work harder to protect our community from deceit.
Our leadership is the one our people have been waiting for. As Kwandiwe Kondlo has put it, we need the kind of leadership which cultivates bonds of solidarity and trust. This is the leadership that emerges from what we are building as the Mandela Park Backyarders. It is a leadership rooted among people and we shall continue to carry our mandate without fear of being labeled by those coming from above.
Call for resignation
We hear that MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela’s resignation or reappointment is imminent. We would welcome such a development and ask Helen Zille to consult with us on his replacement.
For all the reasons laid out above, we reiterate our call for Bonginkosi Madikizela to resign with immediate effect!
For more information, contact:
Slu @ 0714331101
Luzuko @ 0739662188
Khaya @ 0780241683