Residents threaten to stop housing development

This housing development is under threat from the concerned residents

Residents of Burundi informal settlement in Mfuleni have vowed to disrupt the planned building of temporary housing units in the area.

On Monday November 8, with dark clouds hanging over the area and the wind picking up, close to 100 residents gathered outside the Extension 2 Housing Development site hoping to speak to those in charge.

The residents, who said they represented the “concerned residents of Burundi”, claimed that somebody who introduced himself as a new Mfuleni councillor told them only 36 residents would benefit from the development. They came to the site to stop the development until the City of Cape Town met with them and explained who the beneficiaries would be, how they’d be selected, and how the recent change in ward demarcations would impact the project.

Local committee chairperson and leader Ayanda Tsuku said residents were angry about what they had been told and that the person who had spoken to them had not consulted with the committee.

“That brought anger to us and the residents. What we know – or our agreement with the City – was that those who are in the Bosasa temporals will first benefit from this development.

“Then a chunk of people from Burundi will go to the temporals. We also have a problem of the demarcation,” he said, explaining that Burundi was in a different ward from the one it was in when the project was started.

“We now want to find out where this leaves us. We have had a letter of agreement before but now we are not sure what is happening. Now we want the development to stop until we are clear,” he said.

Mr Tsuku threatened that if they didn’t get answers, “all hell will break loose”.

“This is a peaceful protest and we want it to remain like this. But if not we will have to use our power and all that we have in our disposal to stop it,” he said.

Another local leader, Mavuso Gqola, said the development was meant to relieve the densely-congested Burundi.

He further claimed that people from Burundi had been overlooked for jobs in the project and that they wanted this addressed.

“People are concerned (that) they were told only 30 people will benefit. That is nonsense. People that should get first preference are those in temporals and then Burundi residents go to the temporals. But we are here to demand that the City officials come to people and address them,” he said.

Mr Gqola added that young people, some of whom had the necessary qualifications, had been overlooked when it came to employment.

“There are opportunities for them here but are sidelined. That is another problem that we need to fight. People are hiring friends and family members. There is a high rate of unemployment in Burundi. They deserve a stake here, especially the youth,” said the angry Mr Gqola.

On Monday Vukani sent the City a list of questions. While they acknowledged receipt thereof, by the time this story was published, they had not yet responded.

Local leader Mavuso Gqola claims that young people are overlooked for jobs in the new Mfuleni housing development.
A portion of about 100 Burundi residents gathered outside the Extension 2 housing site with the view to stop it until they get the City of Cape Town to explain few things to them.