Joburg South residents give Makhura deadline to respond to land demands

2019-09-01 22:13
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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About 300 residents in Johannesburg South have given Gauteng Premier David Makhura until Friday to respond to their demand for land, GroundUp reports.

On Friday morning, the residents marched through the streets of the city centre. They are calling for the provincial government to address their needs for land and housing. They are also asking for their areas to be developed.

The march included residents from Eldorado Park, Diepkloof, Freedom Park, Meadowlands, Klipspruit, Ennerdale and Vryhof. They carried placards which read: "How long living in [shacks]", "25 years of democracy and no development" and "We want Southern Farms Now".

The group walked from Library Gardens in central Johannesburg to the Gauteng legislature building and Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, where they demanded that Makhura and Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile accept their memorandum of demands.

Some of the demands included decent housing closer to economic activity, transparency in the rapid land release and mega housing development programmes as well as an end to privatisation of the housing projects, employment of residents in development projects, transparency in the election of community liaison officers, and free quality health care and education in their communities.

Following protests for land and housing in Johannesburg South in May 2018, the provincial government adopted rapid land release programme which assisted with identifying land for redistribution to people who want to build their own houses. As a result, some farms known as the Southern Farms were identified for redistribution.

But at the march, resident Venessa Beukes said little had happened since the farms were identified. The land has been standing vacant since it was identified for the programme despite people's desperate need for housing in the community. "The only thing left to do is for us to take that land by force," she said.

Beukes, who has eight children and nine grandchildren, said she applied for an RDP house in 2005 and again in 2017, adding she was told she had qualified for a house. She is yet to be allocated one.

"If [the provincial government] doesn't want to build houses for us, then, just give us the land so we can build our [shacks]. They must just give us toilets and water… They can come back and give us electricity but we just need roofs over heads now," she said.

Edith Raditlhalo of Orlando East suggested that dilapidated buildings that were standing vacant in the area could be used for housing. She said she joined the march because she desperately needed a place to stay with her children.

"During apartheid, we were the ones on the ground fighting for democracy. Now, we don't even have houses. These politicians are living a better life. Their kids are getting the best and we have nothing. Is that fair? They just don't care about us," she said.

When the marchers arrived at the respective state offices, they were told both Makhura and Mamabolo would receive their memorandum.

Residents gave the officials seven days from Friday to respond to their demands.

They were also expected to meet at the Southern Farms site at 10:00 this past Saturday to discuss the way forward.

Read more on:    david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  land

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