'Let him come out' - Reiger Park residents demand to speak to housing MMC

2017-03-09 11:21
Reiger Park protest (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Reiger Park protest (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - A large group of Reiger Park residents gathered in front of the Ekurhuleni municipality's offices on Thursday, demanding to be addressed by the housing MMC on the allocation RDP houses.

There was a tense stand-off between the group and the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) in front of the entrance of the building. The metro officers have formed a line preventing the group from entering.

"Die plek gaan brand [This place is going to burn]," residents shouted.

Others held up placards reading: "We want houses now" and "We can't stay in back rooms generation to generation".

They demanded that the MMC come and address them. "Let him [come] out, he is not the president," one resident shouted.

Anger

"We demand houses for our people in Reiger Park. The houses that they built behind Hyperama in Boksburg, [we were] told that [they were] for us. We want the MMC to put that on black and white. I have been staying in Reiger Park for 37 years. We also don't want the subcontractors from outside to work in Reiger Park," 37-year-old Christopher Lottering said.

Mother of three Charlotte Blaauw said she too was upset because local residents were not being allocated RDP housing.

"I paid the housing department R6 000 for a housing title, but they never came back to me. That was 10 years ago, I had to sell the cement because I could never continue building my house. All my thousands are gone.

"There is a lot of crime and corruption going on here," she said.

Rubber bullets

Earlier in the morning, five people were injured in Reiger Park when police used rubber bullets to disperse a crowd which had turned violent.

"If there are people injured, you must know the situation is tense but under control," EMPD spokesperson Kobeli Mokheseng said.

The injured were transported to the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg.

Mokheseng said protesters had tried to set a councillor's house alight.

Residents took to the streets at 02:00 on Thursday morning, saying foreign nationals were being allocated RDP houses while locals are still living in shacks.

Protesters barricaded the roads and vowed to shut down the area. Mokheseng said no arrests had been made.

Meeting for be arranged

Gauteng human settlements department head Matilda Gasela said they had noted that the protests were about alleged housing irregularities.

"In response to this, we will assign senior officials of the department to meet with the protesting community to hear their reasons for the protest," Gasela said.

"The policy that regulates allocation of houses and human settlements units to communities only allocates these to South African citizens and not foreign nationals."

She said residents should let the department know if beneficiaries are selling their houses to foreign nationals.

"We know that some beneficiaries do this. Where our people have knowledge of corruption, they must give us evidence so that we deal with the issue."

Gasela said the department was committed to solving problems relating to corruption around allocations of houses.

"Where there has been evidence of wrongdoing, we have dealt with the issues. Our laws mandate us to allocate houses to South African citizens and not foreign nationals," she said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery

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