‘Mayor is getting personal’

2019-06-12 15:25
A woman digging through the rubble of Siyabonga Mchunu’s house that was bulldozed by Mooi-Mpofana Mayor Xolani Duma.

A woman digging through the rubble of Siyabonga Mchunu’s house that was bulldozed by Mooi-Mpofana Mayor Xolani Duma.

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A Mooi River man has accused the Mooi-Mpofana mayor of demolishing his nephew’s shack because of a personal vendetta against him. The mayor said the shack was demolished during an operation to remove illegal buildings on municipal land.

Vusi Chonco said that on Tuesday last week Mayor Xolani Duma was seen sitting in the passenger seat of the municipal grader that demolished his nephew’s two-room shack in Town View, ignoring three other shacks.

Chonco said his nephew, Siyabonga Mchunu (25), is a psychiatric patient at Town Hill Hospital. Chonco said Mchunu has lived in the shack for three years and that Duma did not have a court order permitting him to demolish the house.

“The mayor and I have personal issues so now he’s using his political power to attack my family since he can’t fight with me directly,” said Chonco.

He said as a community member, he used to assist Duma with identifying people in need of government subsidy housing (commonly known as RDP houses).

“We had a fallout because there were allegations that he was illegally giving undeserving people houses.

“I have reported the matter to numerous ANC officials who all promised to do something about this matter, but nothing has happened. Duma thinks he’s untouchable,” said Chonco.

The mayor accused Chonco of being the one who was illegally selling RDP houses.

Mchunu’s mother, Irene Ndlovu, said “There was furniture inside the house when it was demolished, and everything was destroyed. When I got there, people were taking whatever they wanted from the rubble.”

Duma said: “This is all lies. Yes, Chonco and I have a vendetta, but I had no idea that one of the shacks demolished belonged to his nephew. I am the mayor and don’t work on personal vendettas ...”

Duma said he has been telling the illegal dwellers in the area not to build shacks on municipal land, and he had accompanied municipal employees on Tuesday last week to demolish all the illegal structures built on municipal land. “We demolished three house foundations which were being built in the land designated to build 36 RDP houses, and two unoccupied shacks. We checked with the neighbours to ensure no one was staying at the houses and the neighbour told us that one of the owners had left a while ago and was in hospital. He said the owner’s family had come to collect all his belongings from the shack.

“Later the mother of one of the shack owners came and told us that there was a stove inside the house we had demolished. We didn’t see the stove or any furniture inside, so we apologised to for that.

“The law states that once the house is occupied you need to go to court to get a court order that’s why we only demolished the empty houses,” said Duma.

Abahlali baseMjondolo leader Sbu Zikode told The Witness that the mayor demolishing Mchunu’s house was “wrong, unlawful and a criminal act”. “Had the shack been built two or one day ago or had it still been in the process of being built then the mayor would have had the right to demolish it. Demolishing a house and leaving the people homeless is unlawful, despite the owner not being there ...” said Zikode.

Chonco said the family had tried opening a case with the police, but were told that his nephew, who is still in hospital, should do so.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  mooi mpofana municipality

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