Fists fly during a meeting to elect new reps

2016-10-20 06:00
A meeting held at the Langa Sports Complex to elect a new Project Steering Committee (PSC) for the N2 Gateway housing development, turned violent as members clashed last Saturday.                                                      PHOTO: Lulekwa Mbadamane

A meeting held at the Langa Sports Complex to elect a new Project Steering Committee (PSC) for the N2 Gateway housing development, turned violent as members clashed last Saturday. PHOTO: Lulekwa Mbadamane

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What was supposed to be a meeting to elect new leadership for a housing development in Langa, instead turned to a violent confrontation between opposing factions.

The meeting at the Langa Sposrts Complex was due to be facilitated by the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements was aimed at electing the new Project Steering Committee (PSC) for N2 Gateway, Joe Slovo Phase 3 housing development, had to be abandoned.

Johnson Mesi, communication officer at the provincial Department of Human Settlements, said they are going to pursue legal processes in order to elect a new PSC.

Mesi said they intended for the election to take place by no later than 5 November.

“The decision comes after violence erupted on Saturday 15 October, preventing the department from holding the scheduled public meeting to elect the new PSC,” he said.

Mqandile Pheko, a resident at Joe Slovo, said the violence was caused by members of the old PSC who do not even stay in the area.

“We agreed in a meeting which was held in town last month that the PSC should be dissolved if they only built 25 percent of thousand houses in the area and we all agreed on that, but now they do not want to go. They failed to execute the work that they were given.

Some of them have businesses like a security company, painting and building shacks which is against the constitution of the PSC.

“The reason they are fighting is that they know their businesses will collapse if they are not elected.

Residents of Joe Slovo are not happy at all, because these people are not even staying in the informal settlement. We have a problem here and we are desperate,” Pheko said.

Mzwanele Zulu from the dissolved PSC could failed to answer his phone and the allegations could not be corroborated.

Mesi said for the project to continue, community members residing in informal structures on the planned construction site need to move to a temporary relocation area.

“This relocation can only be done with the support of the community, whose interests are represented by the PSC.

While the election of the new PSC members was put on hold, the construction of the project continues.”

He said the department held a project review meeting with the previous PSC and relevant stakeholders of the project, on 01 October.

Concerns were raised regarding the previous PSC and the community requested the election of a new committee, comprising members who have not yet benefited from the project.

It was resolved at this meeting that the election of the new PSC was to take place on 15 October.

It was further resolved that the new PSC would only comprise of community members who have not yet received housing units from the project.

Mesi said a further meeting was held by the department on 11 October, supported by the respective ward councillor, Samkelo John, in order to prepare for the election of the new PSC.

The community, the previous PSC and all relevant stakeholders were therefore well aware of the purpose of the 15 October meeting.

In contrast to what was agreed in previous meetings, the contentious PSC members sought to disrupt the planned meeting of 15 October.

Violence erupted when community members attempted to deny the former PSC members access to the meeting.

“It is unfortunate that a faction in the community has resorted to violence to prevent the election occurring as planned on 15 October.

The election of the new PSC is expected to be conducted by no later than 5 November 2016. It is envisioned that this resolution will allow for the completion of the housing project.

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