MEC quizzed on plan to scrap shacks

Left: Sub-council 9 chairperson Xolani Sotashe and his manager Johnson Fetu, listen to Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, above.

Sub-council 9, which includes Site B, Site C, in Khayelitsha, as well as Montclair in Mitchell’s Plain, has vowed to hold MECs and other people in positions of power to account to ensure effective service delivery in poor communities.

On Thursday March 16, the sub-council invited Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela to do his presentation at its offices, at Khayelitsha Training Centre. Mr Madikizela was called to present his department’s plans regarding Taiwan informal settlement, in Site C. Councillors and ward committee members raised their concerns.

Leading a team dealing with the housing issues, Mr Madikizela said plans to develop the area were afoot. He said the area was being “profiled” to know the people who qualify for houses.

He conceded that the process was taking longer, but he was happy that something was happening. He revealed that out of 4 000 families living in Taiwan, 2 000 of them had been profiled. He said land for Taiwan people had been identified and would soon be developed.

“We have pieces of land that we have identified. The plan is to find a lasting solution. If it is not possible to develop it where it is then let us find land,” he told Vukani.

He also called for a housing summit. “It should not be a talk shop. There must be preparatory and hard work put in it. The summit should come with clear solutions,” he said. Mr Madikizela also revealed that his department was busy with a title deeds restoration programme in Makhaza, Site C and many other areas. He stressed the need for people to own homes.

Mr Madikizela also touched on challenges around People’s Housing Projects (PHP). “PHPs have a number of beneficiaries who do not qualify for various reasons,” he said.

“One would find that some beneficiaries are homeowners, some have salaries that range from R3 500 to R15 000. That has been our problem with PHPs, but we are continuing, and houses are being built. The biggest debate now is land. Land is a problem.”

Mr Madikizela said the idea was to get free sites and social houses (rent to buy) for those earning from R5 000 to R15 000.

Ward 90 councilor Luleka Jali accused Mr Madikizela of promising 250 TR families houses in Nuwe Begin.

But Mr Madikizela responded: “It is not true that I promised to take people to Nuwe Begin. Nuwe Begin had 1200 units and accommodated 900 beneficiaries from TR Section as agreed.”

Ward 89 councillor Monde Nqulwana warned Mr Madikizela to focus on older areas such as BM, RR, TR Sections, which he said needed urgent development. After the fires that ravaged BM in 2013, there was a plan to develop the area but that has stalled.

“BM was declared as suitable for proper houses but it seems there is no political will to implement this,” he said.Sub-council 9 chairperson Xolani Sotashe said he was satisfied with the way the meeting had progressed. He thanked Mr Madikizela for the visit, adding that they would be inviting some of his peers. “We will knock on all the doors, especially if there is somebody inside. Seventy percent of people here live in informal settlements. We appreciate Mr Madikizela’s reaching out to us.

“We want to change things here. We do not want to fail. I do not want to be counted among failures,” he said. He appealed to Mr Madikizela to work with them.

He said as the council was more than willing to be part of service delivery to the people. “We might differ politically or ideologically, but we have to work together. We have one common cause – service delivery for all our people,” he concluded.