Shack dwellers won’t back down

2016-03-30 06:00
MANGALISO MATIKA, speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, addresses residents on a visit two weeks ago and stands firm that the illegal shack dwellers of Jacksonville must return to Ivory Park. Photo: Boipelo Mere

MANGALISO MATIKA, speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, addresses residents on a visit two weeks ago and stands firm that the illegal shack dwellers of Jacksonville must return to Ivory Park. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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THE illegal shack dwellers of Jacksonville remain adamant that they are not going anywhere.

They are ready to put up a fight if the Sol Plaatje Municipality tries to remove them forcefully from the land they claim they had been encouraged to occupy by Vaugn Settley, housing chairperson of the municipality.

The residents were served with an eviction letter by the Hight Court last month. This gave them until Tuesday (29/03) to vacate.

According to Mangaliso Matika, speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, the land is earmarked for housing development and electricity installation is already in progress.

The residents were angered by Matika, who, on a visit two weeks ago, instructed them to return to Ivory Park, from which they had fled due to poor service delivery.

They claim the area is isolated, that it is without proper lighting, filled with snakes and dangerous insects and that it has a shortage of toilets and water.

Matika’s visit came after previous visits during which the speaker had promised that the municipality would allocate suitable land to erect shacks on.

The instruction to return to Ivory Park led the residents to threaten to consider changing their ANC membership and joining other political parties. They lashed out by saying that the ANC party they belonged to did not care about them. They told Matika to his face that he was a snake. The many hearts Matika won when he had promised the residents land during a meeting on Thursday, 11 February, turned out to carry no weight, as residents ended up standing together in their refusal to move.

According to the residents, they were ready for the fight with the Red Ants if that was what it took. They believed the poor were the ones who suffered the most, as they claimed government employees and people from other towns were prioritised on the land.

They called on Alvin Botes, MEC for the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA), David Molusi, mayor of Sol Plaatje, and Sylvia Lucas, premier of the Northern Cape, to intervene in the matter.

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