Housing rage in Langa

Community leaders in Joe Slovo, Langa, are angry that the newly-built flats in the area were damaged by a group of residents who were allegedly unhappy about the housing allocation list.

Residents told Vukani that at 11am on Wednesday July 19, a group of residents broke windows of the flats and fled the scene 15 minutes later.

When Vukani visited the area the following day, Thursday June 20, we found that almost all the windows of the 60 flats had been destroyed.

The residents said the houses had been near to completion but now there would be a further delay before beneficiaries could finally move in.

The newly elected community leaders argue that when they were elected they discovered that proper steps of drafting the list had not been followed.

One of these leaders, Mzimasi Ntwanambi, said the main reason for the uproar was that the housing allocation list had been drafted by the Sobambisana Community Developments (Pty) which built the flats.

This, he said, was not the correct protocol to have followed because all stakeholders should consulted when a housing list is being drafted.

He said they also discovered that some of the people on the list had received houses.

When asked who broke the windows, he said it was a group of residents who were unhappy about the list and wanted to be allocated houses without the correct procedures being followed. The housing list, he said, should be drafted by the Project Steering Committee.

Mr Ntwanambi accused the previous leadership of promising people houses, leading to the current situation in which people were now demanding these promises be fulfilled.

Mr Ntwanambi said if people had grievances they should raise such complaints through the proper channels instead of destroying houses.

He condemned the incident, saying:”We are shocked by the incident. People are ungrateful for the things done by the government. This money which will be used to replace the windows should have been used on something else. This is not the behaviour that we expect from adults.”

Director of the Sobambisana Community Developments (Pty), Mandla Maxongo confirmed that they had drafted the list, based on who had moved from their plots to make way for the flats to be built. The people who had been moved, would then be allowed to move into the flats, on completion of the construction.

“This is how the process has been done since 2010,” said Mr Maxongo. “We can’t change the process because there is new leadership.

“We held a workshop with them when they were elected in April about the process and gave them to list to scrutinise. We are just as appalled by the actions of the residents,” he said.

Ward councillor Samkelo John told Vukani there was a group of people who lived close by the flats who were unhappy about the allocation list and that they had questioned why their names were not on it.

He said they had also accused their community leaders of failing to call community meetings to update them about development progress in the area. “These residents do qualify for housing allocation but they were not earmarked for these units. They would be allocated houses when other housing units were finished. I have gathered their complaints and I will table them before the project steering committee,” he said.

Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka, spokesperson for Human Settlements MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, confirmed that the Department of Human Settlements was aware of the matter and that they were awaiting an assessment report from The Housing Development Agency (HDA) to ascertain the extent of damage. She said according to the councillor, residents complained that the current project steering committee was not taking their concerns seriously. “The project steering committee must convene a meeting to address some of the issues raised by the residents,” she said.