Residents plan to move

2017-12-13 06:00

While the mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality is accused of playing hide and seek with the Lerato Park shack dwellers, residents started cleaning the available land to occupy it.

They say they will soon relocate their shacks from what they call “the dump” that they have been staying on, to the promised land.

“While government is still having difficulty making time to meet us, we are making things easier for all parties.

“Their priority is to fix the road for their expensive cars to drive on while we relieve ourselves in the veld and have no proper services year in and year out,” said the residents who were busy cleaning the veld next to the newly built Phase 2 houses.

The fed-up residents claimed they were ready to have a black Christmas, as they allegedly continue to be threatened to be shot or removed by the Red Ants.

This is the follow-up to the recent protest by the residents who blockaded the Barkly West exit road on Monday, 4 December, to hinder the road project that was supposed to start on Tuesday, 5 December.

They wanted the money to be redirected towards service delivery in their area and for them to be allocated to a permanent residential area.

According to the residents, it is painful for them to witness trucks carrying new home owners from outside Lerato Park, to move into the new houses, while they have been waiting in the shacks for over 20 years.

The residents were angered more by mayor Mangaliso Matika’s absence after he had promised to come with the delegation from the Department of Cooporative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta).

They feared that there would never be a combined community meeting because of what they believe to be Matika and the MEC of Coghsta’s factional fights.

The meeting almost turned ugly on Sunday (10/12) when residents chased away a delegation sent to address them. This after a tent had been erected in Lerato Park for a community meeting scheduled by the mayor.

The residents were then stopped by police to close the road, but decided on a way forward, which was to occupy the land which they said had been promised to them.

“We are being proactive. Sol Plaatje mayor Mangaliso Matika and Coghsta will find us halfway through the pro­cess. By the time they decide to meet us, we would have already cleaned and occupied our plots. This is our land, all we need is water and proper sanitation, including electricity. The houses can follow afterwards,” said another one.

“Their nyatsi’s and friends come from far away and get Christmas gifts of our houses while we live in the dump and relieve ourselves in the veld.”

The residents further threatened that no party must come into their area to campaign for votes.

“I moved to Lerato Park on 8 August 1998, but I am still stuck in one place. Two of my children were born here and I even have grandchildren.

“Occupying my own plot means no one else will get a chance to come and live here while I wait in a dump,” Thelma Kross (51) lashed out.

George Mosimane of the Sol Plaatje mayoral advanced team admitted that they had been escorted out of the area because of rowdiness and the hostile environment that the meeting caused.

He revealed that they had been at the event as a team ahead of the mayor, but they had not even been granted the opportunity to state that the mayor was indeed coming.

“Some people were drunk and told us that it was their meeting. Thus the mayor was stopped to meet the people.”

Mosimane further explained that they were heeding the call to update the community on the development plans, but the project was a presidential project run by Coghsta.

He added that it was suspected that the protest seemed politically driven.

He added that the mayor’s offers stood for the residents to elect a committee to sit in a meeting as there were concerns of safety.

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