Sacca’s long wait for housing

2018-10-17 06:02

WHEN the contractor was introduced to them in November 2017, Sacca residents in Mkondeni hoped that they would have their RDP houses soon but, since then, nothing has happened.

Residents say they have been trying to get answers from the Msunduzi Municipality and Department of Human Settlements, to find out what the hold up is, but to no avail and their only resort now is to protest for their houses.

According to residents, construction was to commence a week after they were introduced to the contractor.

Mbuyiswa Gasela, a member of the committee in the area, told Echo that they are fed-up of going to the department [human settlements] and municipality to enquire about the issue.

He said the last information they received from the municipality is that they [the municipality] were waiting for the signature of Minister of Human Settlement Ravi Pillay.

He said they have been hearing that “excuse” since February.

“This housing project was approved a long time ago but the contractor was only appointed last year after we had been nagging the municipality for answers as to when the project is going to start.

“Two thousand houses were supposed to be built but not a single house has been built and it’s been almost a year since the contractor was appointed.

“After the municipality informed us that they are waiting for the MEC’s signature, we decided to take it upon ourselves to try and get hold of the MEC, who then denied knowing anything regarding his signature being missing.

“We have been patient with giving the municipality a chance to make things right but it seems like they do not care. We do not want any explanations now, we want action,” he said.

Another committee member, Thembinkosi Gwala, said the committee has urged the community not to protest but now it seems there is nothing they can do to stop them.

“We have done everything we can to try and solve this problem and engage with the municipality.

“The only time they think of us is when they need votes. They always come here and make empty promises. That stops now. We do not want them here. We are tired of being used by them.

“We are not voting this time until we get our houses and, if they don’t take it seriously, we are going to take it to the streets and it won’t be nice,” he said.

Apart from the housing problems, residents say they also facing water issues as they all share three taps and they don’t have proper sanitation.

They say they are forced to use the nearest bush as an ablution facility and it was not safe.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality is aware of the housing needs in Sacca. She said only six hectares was acquired for a development to accommodate over 1 000 households.

“During planning for the project it became clear that only 280 houses could be built in the six hectares of land acquired and this process was going to require the entire community to be housed off-site to build 280 houses for over 1 000 households. This was not a viable plan.

“The municipality invited tenders for densified interim housing that will be converted to permanent housing in the future but be able to accommodate everyone currently residing in Mkondeni Sacca.

“The approval of this concept had to be presented to the Cabinet as there was a moratorium on the Emergency Housing Subsidy which was to be utilised to build the housing units in Sacca. This has been the main cause of delays to the project.

“There are however changes to the proposed concept of interim housing proposed by the Provincial Department of Housing and these are still under discussion between the department and the municipality.

“Once a way forward has been reached, this will be communicated accordingly to the Councillor and the community of Sacca,” she said.

Human Settlement department spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said the department transferred a multi-million rand account to Msunduzi Municipality to buy the land in 2012.

He said that Msunduzi advertised a tender last year for building contractors but since then they [the department] have heard nothing.

“The end project was approved by MEC a long time ago, dating back to 2012 with the court agreement and again in 2015 when he visited the residents. We are waiting for the municipality to act,” he said.

”...if they don’t take it seriously, we are going to take it to the streets and it won’t be nice.”


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