Corrupt head chased away

2017-11-02 06:00
Residents of Sweet Home Farm informal settlement in Philippi destroy the shack of a woman they accuse of being corrupt PHOTO: Bernard chiguvare

Residents of Sweet Home Farm informal settlement in Philippi destroy the shack of a woman they accuse of being corrupt PHOTO: Bernard chiguvare

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About 50 residents of Sweet Home Farm picketed outside Philippi Magistrates’ Court on Friday, in support of two community members who were arrested on Wednesday after an attack on a community leader’s shack.

Paula Nonzwakazi was forced to flee the informal settlement amid allegations of corruption.

Until then, she had led the community for over six year.

Just before the attack on her house, residents had accused her of selling unoccupied pieces of land without consulting the community.

Then they destroyed her shack. The police arrived and watched as she was forced to pack her belongings. She refused to speak to the media.

Ernest Chulayo, a member of the committee, said: “This lady must leave our area. We will not accept such behaviour in our community. She is actually aware of the community constitution, which states that if a community leader is corrupt, we destroy his or her shack and ask her to leave the area and this is exactly what we are doing.” He said the rule had been agreed to in 2009.

Two community members were then arrested last Wednesday and Thursday following the demolition and were detained at the Nyanga police station. The men appeared in court on Friday on charges of malicious damage to property.

Sinphiwe Stofile, one of the men said: “This lady is corrupt. She is benefiting unlawfully. It is against the community constitution. We destroyed the shack according to our agreement.”

Another resident, Avela Gqambi said: “I came to Sweet Home Farm in 2016 … the accused (Nonzwakazi) was a community leader, I had trust in her. She asked me for R300. I paid that same year but nothing happened.”

He says he signed a paper to prove he had paid for the site. The other community committee members were apparently unaware of this, according to him.

Sandisiwe Jolwana, who used to live in nearby Samora Machel informal settlement, also paid for a site.

“My family is growing big so I thought of buying a piece of land in the area. I did not expect any fraudulent activities since I knew the lady as one of the community members. I paid R1,000 for the open space,” said Jolwana.

But when she tried to erect her shack, someone else arrived and stopped her, saying the site had already been allocated.

“This is when I realised I had been dragged into a corrupt practice. I reported the matter to the other community members,” said Jolwana.

Nonzwakazi has vehemently declined to comment Ground Up

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