Municipality report highlights problems in lawless Jika Joe

2012-05-22 00:00

THE Jika Joe informal settlement continues to be a major thorn in the side of Msunduzi Municipality with the escalation of illegal electricity connections, as well as prostitution, drugs and alcohol.

The matter was raised during an executive committee (Exco) meeting at which council heard that besides the challenges of allocating permanent housing for the people living in the flood-prone settlement, there is prostitution and drugs and alcohol are being sold illegally.

A report tabled yesterday states that the South African Police Service has been called many times, but the illegal activities continue.

Exco heard that theft of electricity was high in that area, with illegal connections causing power cuts due to overloading.

“A child has died as a result of these connections.

“In one meeting held with the residents’ committee it was reported that the person making the illegal connections for this community worked for the municipality,” the report stated. However, no names were supplied.

The report also states that the original occupants of the temporary housing have moved out on their own or were forced to move by criminal elements, who then rented out the municipal structures.

Skhumbuzo Mpanza, the deputy municipal manager (acting) for economic development, described the temporary housing situation as bad for the residents of the settlement and the surrounding community.

Mpanza said a permanent housing project had begun, with Exco approving the construction of community residential units on the Tatham sports ground to accommodate Jika Joe informal residents and residents living in temporary housing at Masukwana.

“We are currently finalising the terms of reference for this project to send to the Department of Human Settlement for authority to advertise and appoint an implementing agent,” he added.

A municipal official said that four years ago people living in the temporary housing agreed to pay R50 per household to the municipality, but only five households honoured the agreement.

Many of the other occupants instead rented their temporary housing units to other people illegally.

Ward 33 councillor Naleni Atwaru will convene a meeting with the community with senior municipal officials tasked to answer questions from the community.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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