Fed-up residents vow to start building their own homes

2019-02-04 15:56
A group of irate Sobantu residents say they intend to start building their houses in Hollingwood, near Lincoln Meade, today after Msunduzi allegedly promised them houses as far back as 2005 but the project never took off. PHOTO: nompilo kunene

A group of irate Sobantu residents say they intend to start building their houses in Hollingwood, near Lincoln Meade, today after Msunduzi allegedly promised them houses as far back as 2005 but the project never took off. PHOTO: nompilo kunene

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Fustrated Sobantu residents who claim that Msunduzi Municipality reneged on its promise to give them houses in Hollingwood near Lincoln Meade have vowed to start building their own houses on Monday.

A group of around 50 Sobantu residents invaded Hollingwood on Sunday to pick out and mark their self-proclaimed pieces of land where they plan to start erecting their homes on Monday.

The land invaders told The Witness that they have been waiting for the Msunduzi Municipality to build houses since 2005.

One of the group, who asked not to be named, said they were tired of waiting for the City to act on its promise as there were unknown people already occupying the land that was promised to them.

“Back in 2005 we were told that the land was earmarked for a cemetery, but we approached the municipality and asked them how they can be planning cemeteries when we as residents from Sobantu, Mountain Rise and Lincoln Meade don’t have proper housing.

“In Sobantu we stay in small four-roomed houses that we inherited from our grandparents. The yards are so small for us to renovate or rebuild our homes. There are sometimes 10 family members forced to live in a small four-room or two-room house. We demand proper housing,” she said.

The residents said they were promised that a housing project would be built in the Hollingwood area and that they would be the beneficiaries, but claim that the municipality has been stalling.

Another land invader, who also asked not to be named, said they were told to wait while soil evaluations were done in the area to establish if it was safe for people to live there.

“We don’t know what the results were, but we were surprised to find out that there are people — some of them foreign nationals — already living in the area. Some have built their own shacks here and some claim that they are renting municipal-owned houses from councillors who are not affiliated with this ward.

“We are tired of waiting so we have taken the decision to build our own houses. The municipality can intervene, but we are not stopping,” he said.

Another said residents of ward 35 would not be voting until they see the housing project commencing.

“No one will vote. We will blockade all the roads in ward 35 with burning tyres and no voting station will open. Whoever wants to vote in this ward can go vote in the bushes,” he said.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo said it was confirmed through feasibility studies that the Hollingwood site was not suitable for housing.

“The studies were done following requests from the community and the outcome was also communicated to them.

“There is a high toxicological effect on humans, emanating from the site,” said Ngcobo.

Two other sites were then identified and feasibility studies were undertaken. “Those are the sites where the houses will be built. We appeal to the community of Sobantu to be calm and patient,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  land grabbing
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