‘We’re going to block the N3’

2014-02-11 00:00

THE residents of Jika Joe informal settlement have threatened to block the nearby N3 over their dissatisfaction with the housing the Msuduzi Municipality is offering them.

They have also vowed to disrupt the construction of the new temporary housing being built for them by the municipality.

They said yesterday they were angered by council’s move to build the temporary housing units despite their disapproval; they have demanded RDP housing.

KSA security guards, who were heavily armed, guarded earthmovers on the new construction site near Jika Joe yesterday, sparking anger amongst the residents who say they now want to take action against the municipality.

“We are situated in a perfect spot to bring the economics of South Africa to a standstill but we have for years tolerated the municipality because we were hoping they would address our concerns,” said one of the community leaders who asked not to be named.

He said they are not planning to steal anything or attack anyone, but had been waiting for the mayor, Chris Ndlela, to address them, but instead now they see armed security and earthmovers.

He said that for years they had been considering blocking the busy N3 between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. This was probably the best way to get the municipality to take them seriously as they have waited for too long, he said.

Another resident said they had a meeting two weeks ago with Ndlela and told him they were willing to move, but only when they were provided with RDP houses.

The municipality has previously given them emergency temporary housing units. “Those units were supposed to be there only for six months, but it turned out to be six years and people are now living in squalid conditions because the prefabricated building are now leaking,” said the resident.

He said they were told that council spent R64 million to provide the temporary housing, and they consider this wasteful expenditure given their current condition.

“Because it is voting time they are doing the same thing — building emergency units and dividing our community because they want to fool us. Those of us who have been here since 1994 cannot allow that,” he said.

The municipality should build them houses near Sobantu and Thembeni as they had promised to do so and only then will they move, he said. “We have not had fire or storms which [would warrant] temporary housing units so there is corruption going on in council; that is why they are forcibly building what we, the community, are against.”

Attempts to get a comment from the Msunduzi Municipality were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

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