Frustrated over relocation

2018-03-06 06:00

Masiphumelele community leaders have claimed that the City of Cape Town has failed to relocate residents to temporary housing as promised.

Community leader Dumsani Nhlapo says this has been the motivation behind a series of public meetings, which have discussed erf 5131, a site agreed on by the Masiphumelele Basic Service Task Committee, the City, the Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector.

“[The agreement] was signed by [the City and committee member] Tshepo Moletsane. We have a copy as well. It is overdue since the City promised to relocate people within 60 days and now it is more than 120 days,” Nhlapo says.

The agreement, of which People’s Post has a copy, was signed on 18 December 2017 by Mayor Patricia de Lille.

The agreement spells out the complaints against the City by the community, along with the agreements made to address these. These include making erf 5131 available “as emergency relief” and supplying a Spatial Development Framework (SDF) by June this year. The agreement also states that a detailed implementation plan must be developed within 60 days of the agreement being signed.

Xolani Koyana, spokesperson for the mayor, confirms the City reached a settlement with residents of Masiphumelele through mediation by the Public Protector.

“As part of the agreement, the City has committed to enhance water and sanitation services in Masiphumelele. The City has already been providing cleaning services in the area, seven days a week. We report weekly on the status of the cleanliness of the area.

“The City is also in the process of developing an SDF that will make provision for the delivery of basic services including water, sanitation, electricity, and refuse removal and fire services among others, and also land for housing development. As per the agreement reached with the Public Protector, the SDF will be ready by June. This incorporates consultation by all relevant stakeholders, including the community.”

However, Koyana says the City is “not aware of a commitment to relocate ­residents”.­ “The agreement stipulates that the City will make available part of the erf as emergency relief to Masiphumelele subject to consultation with the community on the tracts of land that have been identified by the City.”

Koyana adds that the City has an “ongoing programme of cleaning and improvement of sanitation services” in collaboration with national and provincial departments.

“This programme complies with the agreement with the Public Protector and the directive of the province. The agreement and directive deal with the same issues.

“We report weekly to HSRC on the state of cleanliness of Masiphumelele as part of external-body monitoring and evaluation of the services.”

Recent meetings in the community revolve around the land in the agreement, with issue being taken around the time period in which residents were supposed to be relocated to the land (“Fees questioned”, People’s Post, 27 February).

Nhlapo previously told People’s Post the discussions were not around formal housing, but instead about relocating residents from the wetlands to drier areas with ablution facilities.

Fellow community leader Moletsane adds: “We are all collectively focusing on erf 5131, not anything else, by following the right procedure. We must also note the time frame when dealing with this matter because the population has drastically increased in Masiphumelele. People cannot live in those terrible conditions anymore, including the backyarders,” he says.

The public meetings have been held to raise funds for administrative costs, as well as register those who would likely be moved to the temporary accommodation, says Moletsane­.

“The money has been paid to the collective leadership and deposited in the bank to avoid mismanagement of funds. The whole community structures will oversee the relocation of people on that land. We are not talking about the formal houses yet – we want people to build their own shacks, and formal houses will follow later. The current list will tell us how many people are in need of the land.”

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