Kanana residents in Gugulethu are threatening to cause mayhem if the provincial department of human settlements fails to relocate them to Forest Village near Blue Downs.
According to some community leaders, at least 100 people from the area are meant to be relocated to Forest Village before the end of this month. They claim this was confirmed by the department during a public meeting held at Ikwezi Centre on Sunday 10 November.
Community leader Owethu Tshengu said they learned about the meeting when they invaded the offices of the provincial human settlements department on Thursday 7 November.
He said they decided to approach the offices after they realised that the neighbouring communities of Gxagxa and New Rest were having positive developments. He said it was at that meeting that they were informed of Sunday’s meeting in Gugulethu.
“If we did not invade his office we would not have had the opportunity to meet him,” said Tshengu.
He said the department promised them that the development of Kanana will start soon but the focus is currently at New Rest and Gxagxa.
Tshengu said they held meetings with former provincial human settlements minister Bonginkosi Madikizela and they were promised 800 people would be moved to Forest Village.
However, that changed during their meeting on Sunday and as residents, they regard that as an insult.
“Madikizela promised to relocate 800 people and the change in the figures is an insult to the community. We are not happy by the pronouncement. It looks like they are doing us a favour by relocating us,” said Tshengu.
Resident Xoliswa Nwabo said she stayed in the area for more than 25 years.
“During winter we experience flooding. The living conditions are bad. Many people are suffering from TB and asthma,” she said, adding that children have ringworms and diarrhoea.
Marcellino Martin, spokesperson for Tertius Simmers, provincial human settlements minister, confirmed that a commitment of 100 opportunities has been made and the first group depending on their readiness will be relocated before the end of this month.
“Former member of the executive council (MEC), Bonginkosi Madikizela, made a commitment of relocating 800 residents from the Airport precinct to Forest Village to clear some areas for the construction of houses while other residents will be accommodated in the Penhill project which is underway,” he said.
Martin said Forest Village project experienced some technical delays which affected all other benefitting communities including Kanana but they always communicate when it happens. The Airport precinct project comprises Kanana, Gxagxa, Barcelona, Europe Vukuzenzele, Lusaka, Thabo Mbeki and Taiwan.