Human Settlements MEC ,Bonginkosi Madikizela , has stressed that no housing development should be derailed by local squabbles.
This was after the leaders of Zwelitsha, Old Location and Mau Mau protested at the sod-turning ceremony of a housing development earmarked for backyard dwellers and disabled people of Nyanga and Gugulethu.
They told the MEC that residents from their areas were not given an opportunity to be part of the project as jobs were given to people outside their ward and to friends.
The protesters gathered at the construction site gate in an attempt to speak to the MEC before the event took place, delaying proceedings.
The leader of the group, Malibongwe Sopangise said all they want is to work together with the project steering committee, which they accused of hiring family members in the project, mismanagement and not working with the community.
Mr Sopangise claimed that as a community they were not benefiting at all from the project, adding that negotiations with the steering committee had failed.
After long deliberation, Mr Madikizela and Brett Herron, the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, turned the first spadefuls of earth for the building of 434 houses.
Speaking before the sod-turning ceremony, Mr Madikizela said people should know that the project was earmarked for the backyard dwellers of Nyanga and Gugulethu.
“Backyarders fought for this project. Years back we called a meeting after they complained that we place people in their area and yet they have been waiting for houses. We took a decision that this project is for backyarders. So this is earmarked for backyarders. We pleaded with them then and promised that we will expedite this land for them,” he said.
Mr Madikizela also promised to go back to Nyanga and have a meeting with the residents and beneficiaries of the project. However, he said there should be no delays because of protests.
Mr Madikizela and Mr Herron have committed themselves to ensuring the development continues and improves the lives of community members.
Mr Herron said he was excited that they were able to unlock the project.
“Over 400 families will benefit from this project.
“We knew that it was not going to be smooth sailing but we will find the solution if we work together. The project will be transparent,” he said.
Residents and a member of the Nyanga Development Forum, Vuyani Wana, said they want to reach one goal with the government, that of giving backyard dwellers houses and a chance to be part of the development.
He said as long as everyone benefits from the project, there will not be any problems.
Local councillor Luyanda Nyingwa pleaded with residents to work together with the government.
He acknowledged certain challenges and obstacles but said they will deal with them.
The project is anticipated to be completed by June 2019.