BM fire victims face a long wait for houses

City of Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lillie, accompanied by Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services for area east, Anda Ntsodo talk to the residents.

The victims of the 2012 inferno at Site B’s BM Section may have to wait for some time to get houses. This emerged at a meeting between Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and Mfuleni residents on Wednesday April 19.

Ms De Lille visited the area to seek assurances from the community that they would work with the City to restart the Bosasa housing development and Extension Two building project. The project, which is earmarked for the 2012 fire victims, was halted by protesting Extension Two and Bosasa residents in 2013.

And plans to get it under way were once again abandoned when disagreements between Ms De Lille and the community about its roll-out emerged at the Wednesday nught meeting, forcing a follow-up meeting with the community leaders on Thursday April 20, at the Cape Town Civic Centre. The meeting was to discuss the proposed changes to the memorandum of agreement.

The City said the agreement was a sensitive one and it had worked with the community to rebuild trust.

Mfuleni residents have said the building of houses would not continue until local government had assured there was money to continue with the projects.

On the other side Cape Town’s mayor wants a more permanent solution to the project’s ongoing problems. She said a solution to the housing crisis in the area would only be found if the community worked with the City.

At the meeting last Wednesday , Ms De Lille committed to resume the building development of Mfuleni Extension Two and Bosasa, provided the community promised to work with the City.

She said the City was ready to resume the project as early as June, but she wanted assurances from the community that the projects would not be stopped again and become a money-wasting project.

She said should the community buy in to the plan, the current phase of the projects would see 1 043 service sites for Extension 2 while 300 sites were being put aside for the community of Bosasa.She said she had called the meeting so that she would improve the working relations between the City and the community in pursuit of one goal.

She said it was important to have a good working relationship between all stakeholders for the projects to succeed.

“We must get the mandate from the community. The City shall remain committed in the development of the projects. T

“he role of the community shall be to ensure that the appointed service provider will be protected and there will be no disturbance.

“The service provider will do their job without any interruptions. And the community will assist the City to identify the fire victims and other beneficiaries,” she said amid rumblings when she mentioned the fire victims.

She said the housing development in 2013, which the community stopped, had been shrouded in a list of shenanigans, and there were fears that the current phase of development would be no different. Ms De Lille pleaded with the community to always engage the City when there was disagreement without impeding the contractor. “If we destroy and chase away contractors, it will disadvantage the community.

“We ask the community to work with us,” she said.

Residents took full advantage of the meeting to vent their frustration over the failure of the projects. Some felt it would be unfair to prioritise BM fire victims. Informal Settlement Network national leader Nkokheli Ncambele was adamant a solution would be found.

He said said it had been a long road.

“But finally we are getting there,” he said, urging the community to be patient with the City.

Extension 2 leader Malibongwe Yisa sounded positive on Monday April 24 that the development will continue.

He said leaders had agreed with the mayor.

“She is waiting for us to call her for the date to sign the agreement. After the Wednesday meeting, it seems we are on the same path,” he said.