After a delay of more than five years, the construction of houses in troubled Mkhonto, Mpetha and Freedom squares is expected to commence soon after warring factions reached some form of an agreement.
The project, which is designed to provide houses to people living in various informal settlements around Nyanga, came to a grinding halt in 2011 after angry local backyard dwellers clashed with would-be owners over the allocation of the houses.
The backyarders from Zwelitsha demanded a share in the housing allocation, forcing the authorities to pull the plug on the project and rethink their distribution strategies.
Some of the houses that were nearly complete were left vacant as authorities and community leaders battled to find ever-lasting solutions to the debacle. Some of those structures have since crumbled down and have become an eyesore to the community and hiding spots for criminals.
However, after months and years of negotiations it appears that a solution has finally been found.
And efforts are under way to communicate with the affected communities. The first meeting on Sunday March 5 was abandoned after few people turned up but there are plans to organise another meeting.
In an interview with Vukani, the project’s steering committee chairperson Lucky Tafeni said it was all systems to go. Since the project was halted, he said there had been robust discussions to ensure the development continued.
“The idea of the meeting is to ensure that people understand where we are and agree with the names on the list,” he said.
To try to find a solution to the problem, Mr Tafeni said community representatives from the affected areas were elected to liaise directly with their communities.
“Through this process we want to ensure that the names that we received from the leaders are correct. People must confirm the names so that we do not have a repeat of what happened. We want to make sure that once the houses are finished the right people move in without any problems,” added Xolile Mkoko, secretary for the project. “We have got all the names of the beneficiaries and we will submit them to the council and to the councillor to make sure they are aware of what is happening.”
Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said the City’s involvement in the project was limited to the provision of services and the completion of subsidy forms by the beneficiaries.
He described the process as a struggle, but added that plans were on track to finalise everything. “The progress has not been as swift as we would have wanted it to be, but a marketing consultant is active on site,” said Mr Herron.
Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson for Housing MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said occupants for the new homes could move in towards the end of June or in July.
He said the bulk of work had been completed, and the remaining work should be completed in two months.
For details about the project, contact Lucky Tafeni on 063 573 3381