Shack dwellers still left with uncertainty

2016-02-17 06:00
“THEY must go,” clarified Mangaliso Matika, speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, when addressing the illegal residents of Jacksonville.

“THEY must go,” clarified Mangaliso Matika, speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, when addressing the illegal residents of Jacksonville.

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THE meeting between the illegal shack dwellers of Jacksonville and the speaker of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Mangaliso Matika, left more doubt than assurance for the residents.

Matika met the few residents who remained behind on the illegal land on Thursday (11/02) in an effort to assure them that the municipality would indeed allocate them land, but at a later stage.

The meeting follows an eviction court order by the High Court last month that gave the residents, who had been refusing to leave, until 29 March to vacate the land.

The land that is illegally occupied is earmarked for housing development and the process of electricity installation is already in progress.

Stamping on the eviction order, Matika managed to win the hearts of some of the residents who undertook to stay on the land until the municipality allocated them land.

The meeting led to a division amongst the residents as it was clear that some misunderstood the bottom line that Matika was sketching for them.

He made the commitment to them during his address that the municipality would mark their shacks with a number, which they could use and add to the new registration form for housing at the Roodepan One-Stop Centre, starting Monday (15/02).

He explained that the numbers should determine the legality of the residents on the list.

Those with shack numbers are expected to be prioritised for the promised land still to be identified by the municipality.

He requested them to look out for each other with regards to the building of more shacks.

“We do not want to effect the court order, but we are here to advise you as we want to protect you.

“That is why we offer you assistance with drawing up a new waiting list.

“We know you are unemployed and have children and need land.

“We appreciate the efforts of all those who co-operated all along and registered after the first and the second warnings.

“We are still busy with the nitty-gritty and will try to arrange the confusing list, also to avoid ghost shack beneficiaries,” said Matika calmly.

Some of the residents got the impression that they would be allowed to stay on after they had received their shack numbers and would only be removed to the promised land before the due date of the court order.

Others thought that the meeting was fruitless as it meant that they still had to go back to being backyard dwellers and being overcrowded.

“The speaker was playing mind games with us because he could not guarantee us available land.

“He rather continued to urge us to go back and draft another housing waiting list, which he sweetened with the promise that the shack numbers would be added to,” argued one female resident.

The woman showed Express Northern Cape two different registration forms that she had filled in at the municipality’s one-stop centre.

“Look at all these different forms, you will ask yourself which one is ligit as we fill in our details all the time, only to be told to redo it again.”

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