Tempers fray at meeting

2015-09-16 06:00
FUMING residents from Jacksonville near Roodepan were warned by the speaker of Sol Plaatje against illegal occupation of land earmarked for development. Pictured above is Anthony Leeu faced by Jerome Leshou and the speaker, Mangaliso Matika.

FUMING residents from Jacksonville near Roodepan were warned by the speaker of Sol Plaatje against illegal occupation of land earmarked for development. Pictured above is Anthony Leeu faced by Jerome Leshou and the speaker, Mangaliso Matika.

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THE delegation of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, including the speaker, Mangaliso Matika, repeatedly had to call the fuming residents of Jacksonville to order when they addressed a meeting, warning the residents against the illegal occupation of land that was earmarked for development.

The residents started grabbing land last weekend after reportedly being given the go-ahead by their ward councillor, Dennis Pienaar.

The speaker called a community meeting on Friday (11/09), aimed at finding a suitable solution for the land grab issue.

The speaker was at some point interrupted by a resident who shouted: “Do not speak nonsense, where are we supposed to go from here. We live like a bunch of birds in small houses, we also want houses like the residents of Galeshewe.”

Finger pointing was the order of the day as residents, who all claim to be behind their councillor, tried to justify why they had decided to put up shacks on the land they have been occupying.

They believe the land belongs to them after they were given the go-ahead by Pienaar with a promise to fast-track development.

On the day of the meeting Pienaar, who was reportedly informed about the meeting, was not available to answer for his actions, but was on an an errand in Platfontein.

The residents further complained that they are the forgotten cousins of the Northern Cape, because illegal shacks were erected in areas like Colville and Homevale, and are erected on a regular basis in Galeshewe.

They said that they did not know what the criteria were that were used to allocate land and houses.

The situation led to Matika giving the land grabbers until Sunday (13/09) to remove their shacks as instructed or face the bulldozers. He instructed them to follow the proper channels of registering on the housing waiting list Xwhich they claimed did not work for them X and to wait for their turn to get land.

Pleading with the residents to work with him before action is taken against them, Matika emphasised that their concerns of overcrowding, unemployment and being backyard dwellers were taken into consideration.

“But this is illegal because no ward councillor, has the right to issue land. That is misconduct because he is misleading you. There are relevant departments and channels to follow.

“If he was honest with you he would be here,” emphasised Matika.

Matika lashed out at Pienaar for lying and said his day would come to face the might of the law.

“Anyone who does not abide by the South African law should be dealt with.”

Vaughn Settley, who accompanied the speaker, dismissed claims in a daily newspaper last week that Pienaar did not know anything about his ward’s development. “A councillor who states that he is uninformed is telling a lie. They are involved in all processes,” he emphasised.

The speaker further promised to allocate land elsewhere to the dwellers who had already built their shacks after a list of their names had been submitted. The submission was supposed to be made on Monday (14/09) by a select committee.

“It is my responsibility to help you solve this problem. I will attend to all the problems in this area,” he responded to murmurs that Monday was too far.

Settley condemned the residents’ claims that certain people own certain wards and areas. “Land belongs to South Africa and is determined by boundaries. I hate it when people’s feelings are being messed with like now. Promises go with responsibility,” he said.

Emphasising how he has come a long way with the development of the area since its establishment in 1999, he said some people were shot at by the police while protesting. He claimed the area was surveyed in 2002 when a dummy cheque was issued by Pakes Dikgetsi when he was the MEC of CogHSTA.

Elaborating on the allocation of houses and land, he added: “We build houses for the people of Sol Plaatje and operate with a waiting list from which beneficiaries are allocated available land. There are some people who were placed in Galeshewe and other areas around Sol Plaatje because we understand the problem of overcrowding.”

He informed the residents that the housing committee would meet on Friday (18/09) to identify land and to make it available.

“But in an effort to start prioritising on the housing list as stated by the minister of Housing, the disabled, vulnerable and elderly people will get first preference,” he said

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