Residents protest over homes

2019-09-11 06:01
PHOTOS: nompilo kuneneJika Joe residents halt construction of flats in the area as they demand low-cost houses promised to them by Msunduzi Municipality.

PHOTOS: nompilo kuneneJika Joe residents halt construction of flats in the area as they demand low-cost houses promised to them by Msunduzi Municipality.

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IRATE Jika Joe residents caused chaos outside the Motheo Construction site on Fitzsimmons Road on Monday morning, demanding low-cost houses promised to them by Msunduzi Municipality a decade ago. The group of protesters brought the construction site to a standstill by burning rubble and tyres at the gate of the site, preventing anyone from going in.

Motheo Construction was appointed by Msunduzi Municipality as the contractor for the R441 million Jika Joe Flats.

In 2017, The Witness reported that the flats will be available to rent for households with a monthly income of between R800 and R3 500.

Jika Joe residents told The Witness yesterday they wanted free low-cost housing on that land, not flats.

“We want the RDP houses promised to us 10 years ago. Many people living in Jika Joe are self-employed and don’t have payslips or even earn R3 500 to qualify for those flats,” said Buyi Nzimande, a Jika Joe resident.

Nzimande told The Witness that they would not allow anyone to work at the site until they see the houses promised to them also being built.

“In 2009, Msunduzi Municipality demolished people’s shacks on this land and promised to build RDP houses for us. For the past 10 years we have been waiting in temporary houses with leaking roofs. We only have one tap and the toilets are disgusting,” she said.

Nzimande said they were later told that their low-cost houses would be built in Glenwood and in Hayfields.

“We want our houses to be built here. Nelson Mandela said people should not be moved from their land if they have stayed there for more than three years,” she said.

Bongani Mkhize, also a Jika Joe resident, said they were also not happy with how the construction jobs were awarded.

“We were told that 30% of the jobs for this housing project would be awarded to locals but that is not the case.

There are outside subcontractors here who come with their own people from Sobantu, Ashdown and Imbali while locals are jobless, yet the project is on our land. Even if we do get the jobs, we are paid less compared to outsiders,” said Mkhize.

Msunduzi’s newly appointed deputy mayor, Manilal Inderjit, addressed the protesters yesterday and asked them to formulate a task team.

Inderjit said the protesters said they will not stop protesting until they met with the office of the mayor.

“Within seven days we need to meet with their task team and all the relevant stakeholders. The residents are also mentioning promises from people who no longer work for the municipality, so we also need to go back to the drawing board to see what went wrong,” he said.

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