Disteneng resident threatens officials after shacks demolished

2015-06-10 20:42
Mmusi Maimane

Mmusi Maimane (Voight Mokone)

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Polokwane - Residents of Disteneng informal settlement who had their shacks demolished are angry, with one threatening to kill municipality officials and then commit suicide.

They accused the local Polokwane municipal officials of violating their human rights, and right to trade.

“They don’t care about us, I have already told myself that [once] I will find municipal workers in group, I will kill them and kill myself too, and this is my solution. It’s like it is the better solution,” one resident said.

He was among residents pouring their frustration out onto Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday at the dusty informal settlement in Polokwane.

The emotional man told Maimane that every week residents were terrorised by municipal officials, especially those residents who were vocal against the municipality. 

“If they see you speaking to the media, you are a target. Because of this tomorrow my shack can be demolished again,” he told a News24 correspondent.

'We are tired'

Polokwane municipality has confirmed that it was demolishing shacks. but claimed that only those who are eligible for low cost housing were relocated to other areas.

The man's story was backed up by another resident, who refused to be named, saying he was living in fear after having been repeatedly beaten.

 “They promise us houses for years and nothing is happening when you question [them]. They beat you. We are tired,” he said.

Another resident, Frans Maboya, told of how he was sleeping in the midst of the rubble of his former shack.

“They told me that they are working and destroy my shack. They beat others and [I] am afraid they will beat me and they are destroying my properties. What can I do?” said Maboya.

Maboya has been living in the area for more than twelve years and he has refused to leave, saying he has no where to go.

He was afraid to rebuild because demolishers threatened to beat him if he did. 

'We will write to the authority'

Maimane told Maboya and Thobejane that what government had done was unacceptable and encouraged them to vote for the party that cares.

He promised to approach the municipality before the end of the week to seek clarity over injustice in the area.

“It is disturbing to see people having their houses destroyed and left without roofs, it cannot be correct. We will write to the authority and ensure that government knows that it is violating people’s rights,” said Maimane

Thobejane said some families were also left in the cold, including one with a newborn baby.

Polokwane municipality spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene said the municipality had executed demolitions according to the law and insisted those who were left were not eligible for relocation.

She said though the relocation and demolishing was an ongoing process, the municipality would investigate Maboya’s case.

Earlier, before he toured Disteneng, taxi operators told Maimane to intervene in their taxi permit battle.

They said they were forced to operate without permits because the process was not transparent.

Hawkers also told Maimane they had been waiting for more than two years to get street vendor permits.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  polokwane  |  housing

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