Aloe Ridge eviction order withdrawn

2018-03-14 13:45
Aloe Ridge flats.

Aloe Ridge flats. (Ian Carbutt)

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The eviction order against military veterans who illegally seized and occupied flats in the Aloe Ridge council housing complex was withdrawn on Tuesday, and the crisis is set for discussion in the human settlements portfolio committee on Thursday.

The development’s owner, Capital Housing NPC, had obtained a high court order to have 210 Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) members and other veterans evicted from the complex, and the sheriff of the court was given permission to “take all steps” and “do all such things as may be necessary” to immediately eject the veterans. Nothing has happened since and no arrests have been made, while the veterans continue to occupy the flats. Capital Housing NPC has chosen to remain mum.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said on Tuesday the City doesn’t have a say in the matter.

“[Capital] Housing is a privately owned entity. They are solely responsible of what is going on at the complex — we have no say.”

Sixty percent of the R353 million for the housing project came from a government housing grant while the balance was raised through loans.

Human Settlements provincial spokesperson Mbulelo Baloyi said negotiations with the veterans were at a deadlock. “Nothing has happened. The department is still waiting for the veterans to do verification of all the people who are [eligible] for housing.”

Baloyi said the issue of the military veterans will be discussed by the Human Settlements portfolio committee on Thurs.

“A resolution on the matter might come from the portfolio committee.

“We are concerned because there could be some copycats and other housing development projects could be hijacked by people demanding housing,” said Baloyi. He said, however, that Human Settlements could not legally remove the veterans.

Democratic Alliance (DA) KZN spokesperson on Human Settlements George Mari said a clear explanation was needed for the entire debacle. “If authorities don’t act it will set a precedent that people can invade privately-owned properties and get away with it. This cannot be the only way for people to get allocated housing.”

Mari said they expect the KZN MEC for Human Settlements Ravi Pillay to explain how matters were allowed to deteriorate to this point and to act to rectify them.

“The department is failing to act because they seem to want to do something to appease the military veterans because they invaded the complex after they were promised housing. This is a prime example of what happens when the government makes empty promises which it cannot keep.”

In a dramatic twist, The Witness was on Tuesday informed that the owners of the complex had withdrawn the urgent eviction order.

MKMVA regional secretary Menzi Mkhize, who is also directly involved in the invasion, said that a notice of withdrawal had been filed in the high court because the two parties had reached an amicable decision.

“We have had a series of meetings where we agreed to hold internal discussions to find a solution. For now, all I can say is that we are busy compiling lists of all the people occupying the units to identify those who qualify for the homes.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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