Olievenhoutbosch and Mooiplaas residents head to court over RDP home allocations

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

The residents of Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion, will oppose the eviction of residents who are illegally occupying RDP houses meant for residents of Mooiplaas informal settlement.

The Gauteng department of human settlements on Tuesday approached the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seeking an eviction order to remove illegal occupiers from 888 low-cost houses built in Olievenhoutbosch.

The matter, which was on the unopposed roll, will now be moved to the opposed roll after the residents of Olievenhoutbosch stepped in to oppose the motion. It will be heard on May 23.

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

Olievenhoutbosch community leader Peter Seolela 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 government promised 4 500 houses to the residents of Olievenhoutbosch, but this promise was never fulfilled.

'They are trying to cover their own corruption'

"Since 2013, [when] the project started, even today they are still stuck. They have failed to finish the first 1 000 houses that were supposed to be finished. So, the community realised that if they did not step in, the truth would never come out."

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 between them.

"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."

Advocate Noxolo Khumalo, acting on behalf of the department of human settlements, told News24 that the department approached the court in order to obtain an eviction notice as the 888 houses had already been allocated to beneficiaries residing in Mooiplaas informal settlement, around 11km from Olievenhoutbosch.

"What has happened now, individuals have come in and unlawfully occupied those particular premises, meaning individuals that have lawfully been allocated those houses are now left out and are stranded."

Khumalo said thousands of people would ultimately be evicted as each of the 888 RDP homes houses an average of six people.

Dolomitic land

Last week, 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 receive homes.

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 have qualified for RDP housing would be moved to Olievenhoutbosch. This will be after people who are illegally occupying the allocated RDPs are removed.

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