MEC warns people not to occupy land illegally

Infromal settlement dwellers and backyarders packed the Luyolo hall in Gugulethu to listen to the MEC for Human Settlement, Bonginkosi Madikizela, this past weekend.

While he conceded that there was vacant land in Gugulethu, and he understood people’s anger, MEC for Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela, warned people against illegally occupying land.

At a packed meeting at Luyolo community hall on Sunday March 4, Mr Madikizela reported back on plans to deliver 7 400 housing opportunities for the communities of the informal settlements along the Airport Precinct, which include areas such as Lusaka, Barcelona, Kanana, Tsunami, Gxagxa and Thabo Mbeki. Gugulethu backyarders will also benefit from this mega project.

After the meeting, he told Vukani government had been in talks with private owners of the land in a bid to purchase it.

“The government cannot allow people to take land by force. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with the owners of this land. We have been talking to them so that we can develop the land for housing purposes.

“We need to utilise the land appropriately,” he said.

He also emphasised that the principle of first come, first served, in terms of the housing database, must be respected.

However, he said, elderly persons would always be prioritised.

“As much as the the first come, first served principle needs to apply, we cannot have a situation where a 21-year-old gets a house before a senior citizen,” he said.

The meeting became heated, with people divided about how houses should be allocated. Some had a problem with housing steering committees in their areas, while others accused their councillor of only caring about informal settlement dwellers and not backyarders who live on the properties of formal houses.

Ward councillor Bongani Ngcombolo promised to meet his people and denied having discriminated against people who live in formal houses.

“When I came in as councillor it was a bad time. This project was starting. I also had a problem with people who did not want to recognised me.

“I called the meetings and they were not coming. But I had to service people who wanted services. But I will make a way to meet those who are not satisfied,” he said.

Sindisile Mpasha from Europe was happy with the information shared by the MEC and agreed with Mr Ngcombolo that too many people did not attend meetings. “Some of us who attend meetings know what is going on regarding houses.

“It is unfortunate that people do not attend meetings,” he said.

After the meeting some Gugulethu reisdents were still occupying vacant land at NY 32 and were threatening to cause havoc until they were given houses.