Olievenhoutbosch residents to be evicted from RDP houses by end of June, court rules

2018-05-23 15:12
Land invaders in Olievenhoutbosch have cornered off pieces of land. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Land invaders in Olievenhoutbosch have cornered off pieces of land. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ordered that residents of Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion, who are illegally occupying RDP houses meant for residents of Mooiplaas informal settlement, be evicted by the end of June. 

Judge Papi Mosopa on Wednesday granted the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements an order to evict residents from 888 low-cost houses built in Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27. 

The residents' advocate was not in court and, therefore, could not oppose the motion, which appeared on the unopposed roll. 

Advocate Sipho Mahlangu told the court that the legal representative for the residents had filed papers, but for a different matter, and therefore the motion remains unopposed. 

READ: Olievenhoutbosch and Mooiplaas residents head to court over RDP home allocations

He briefly told the court that the residents had unlawfully occupied the RDP houses and that there was no responsibility to provide alternative accommodation, as residents have not lived in the houses for six months. 

He said the occupation was completely unlawful, and that residents had just allocated houses to themselves, without being proper beneficiaries. 

'They will never remove us'

Olievenhoutbosch community leader Peter Seolela said they would be appealing the order. 

Seolela previously said that the rightful owners of the RDP houses were already living there and that there was no way they would give the houses up without a fight.

"They will never remove us, they will only remove us from these houses if we are dead. But while we are still alive, we are not going to move out of those houses," said Seolela.

He added that the government had promised 4 500 houses to the residents of Olievenhoutbosch, but that this was never fulfilled.

WATCH: 'We are not going anywhere, Olievenhoutbosch is our home' - illegal land occupiers

Seolela said, if all the RDP houses promised were built, then both the communities of Olievenhoutbosch and Mooiplaas would be housed and there would be no animosity.

"They are trying to cover their own corruption by making sure the people of Olievenhoutbosch and Mooiplaas fight among themselves, and then they will walk away with the corruption that they committed."

'We will do what we did to the apartheid regime'

Olievenhoutbosch resident Alpha Hadebe, who moved into one of the RDP houses late last year, said despite the order being made, they would not leave the houses. 

"If there is no amicable solution, mark my words, we will do what we did to the apartheid regime," said Hadebe. 

In May, Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited the Mooiplaas informal settlement. He told residents that they would be moved, as they could not build houses on the site where the settlement is located because a geo-technical report had revealed that most of the land was dolomitic.

"I won't allow government to build houses on dolomitic land. It will put our people at risk," Makhura said.

However, he assured residents that they would be moved to other developed land, where people who qualify for RDP houses would be accommodated.

Makhura told News24 that only 30% of the Mooiplaas area could be developed, but that a large number of people who currently call the informal settlement home would be moved to other areas.

He added that a number of residents from Mooiplaas who qualified for RDP housing would be moved to Olievenhoutbosch. This would be after people who were illegally occupying the allocated RDPs were removed.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  poverty  |  housing  |  service delivery

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