Sunday, March 29, 2015

City Housing chaos erupts as protesters loot stalls

A mob of protesters who charged through Cape Town city centre yesterday mugged a bystander, looted vendors' stalls and vandalised property.

Hundreds of members of Ses'Khona, known as the "poo protesters", marched to the Western Cape legislature to demand that grievances about a lack of housing delivery be heard.

Ses'Khona leader Andile Lili urged the crowd to mobilise in townships and return to the city centre with 300000 people.

In St George's Mall, a man who had bought coffee was caught up in the melee and assaulted by a man believed to be a protester.

The attack was seen by The Times photographer Esa Alexander. "When the protesters came, the man with the coffee tried to run away. They got hold of him and pulled at his bag," he said.

"The man fought back and when one of the attackers pulled his bag out of his hand the victim fell to the ground. The thief ran into the crowd before the guy could get back up. It was chaos."

The protesters looted informal traders and took iron rods from stalls. They attacked bystanders, but dispersed when they were chased by police.

Police Captain FC van Wyk said one man had been arrested for possession of stolen goods from a vendor.

"We urge people to come forward with information," he said.

- Timelive

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Zuma on being a dictator and building your own house

If Jacob Zuma was a dictator, this is how he would run things:

  • Laziness would be a thing of the past;
  • Idle youth would be put to work; and
  • No more freebies.

Addressing delegates of the SA Local Government Association in Johannesburg yesterday, Zuma said a creeping laziness had entered South African society because "we are free" of white rule.

Zuma said he would relish a chance to rule for an extra year with absolute authority to make South Africans more productive.

Democracy was proving a stumbling block, the president said.

"Sometimes I worry when people demand things for free, even things they can do for themselves.

"If I was a dictator, I would change a few things ...but this is a democratic country."

Zuma told a story from his time in exile in an unnamed African country.

He said he could not help but notice that the workers were going about their duties without any urgency.

When he asked why, Zuma said he was told that workers no longer saw it as necessary to work faster or harder because they were free of the white man.

Zuma said he had grown weary of youths asking for government handouts, saying they should build their own homes and acquire employable skills.

Last year, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said her department would no longer provide state-subsidised houses to people under the age of 40.

Zuma also called on municipalities to hire competent staff.

"There should be no compromise in ensuring that officials have the necessary qualifications."

The president also queried the use of consultants, who cost the government more than R30-billion in the 2013/14 financial year.

He said: "If those of us who are employed to do work with specific skills now use consultants, what then are we employed to do?"

Zuma also spoke out against municipal officials who hired family and friends with no skills.

"Don't employ people because you feel for them or they are your friend or cousin. Employ people to do work," said Zuma.

- Timeslive

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cape Town cries foul after councillor ‘asked to leave’ human settlements meeting

THE city of Cape Town has cried foul after one of its councillors sent to attend a Department of Human Settlements meeting in Johannesburg this week was asked to leave the meeting venue by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

Ms Sisulu is said to have asked Cape Town mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen to leave Monday’s meeting arguing that it was only for mayors.

The incident is likely to put further strain on the relationship between the city of Cape Town and Ms Sisulu. Last year the minister and the city clashed over the Lwandle Commission of Inquiry. She also accused the Democratic Alliance-led city of "buying" the title of World Design Capital in 2014.

According to Ms van Minnen, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille could not attend the meeting because she had a previous long-standing commitment that she could not cancel for a meeting where she was given only three days’ notice.

"She communicated her unavailability to the minister’s office the very next day, but added that she would be sending me as her representative in my capacity as mayoral committee member for human settlements. Considering that the meeting pertained to my directorate, both myself and the mayor felt it apt that I should attend the meeting," Ms van Minnen said.

"This morning (Monday) I proceeded to travel to Johannesburg to attend the meeting. An e-mail was sent from the minister’s office ... when I was already en route to the meeting once more indicating that I was not allowed to attend. Upon my arrival, I entered the meeting.

"About 40 minutes into the discussions, Minister Sisulu arrived and asked me to leave the meeting venue. She personally blocked me from taking part in the discussion that directly impacts my directorate, and service delivery in the city at large," Ms van Minnen said.

She said Ms Sisulu has "once again misused her position as the national minister of human settlements to purposefully block service delivery in the City of Cape Town".

Ms Sisulu’s spokesman, Ndivhuwo Mabaya, said that Ms van Minnen was not an acting mayor and therefore her presence at the meeting "would not have assisted with anything, as she does not have mayoral executive powers — she was just there to take minutes".

"The city was informed that only mayors will attend the meeting. Mayor de Lille issued a number of media statements attacking the national Department of Human Settlements in the past six months; it was only fair for her to attend the meeting herself so that she can explain herself on a number of issues. We suspect she did not attend the meeting to run away from them," Mr Mabaya said.

- BDLive

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

We feel safe here, say Kraal residents

Cape Town - Longtime residents of the Kraal, an informal settlement at the top of Hout Street, say the City of Cape Town’s offer of formal housing in Pelican Park will do little to improve the quality of their lives.

Many residents, some of whom have been living in Wash House Quarry for 20 years, said on Tuesday they would prefer to remain in the city, close to work opportunities and their children’s schools.

The city’s offer has been met with mixed reactions.

A younger resident, who was born in the quarry, said she was “very excited” about the chance to live in a house with running water and electricity.

When the Cape Argus visited the site on Tuesday, city law enforcement officers were dismantling some of the 18-odd illegal structures.

As council workers loaded a truck with old mattresses and pieces of wooden structures, a handful of permanent residents sat nearby, unperturbed by the eviction of their neighbours.

The residents, who refused to give their names, said they weren’t bothered by the “transient” informal dwellers who set up temporary housing on their doorstep. “They don’t bother us, so why should we bother them?”

Ward councillor Dave Bryant said it would be easier to deal with the illegal structures once the permanent residents had been relocated.

Officials from the city’s housing department were due to meet residents last week about the offer of fixed housing in Pelican Park, but none of the families were present at the meeting.

The Bo-Kaap Civic Association explained later that residents wanted more information about the move before they agreed to go.

But Bryant said on Tuesday that while he understood their misgivings, the reluctance of some to move while others wanted a fresh start was “frustrating for everyone”.

“This is groundbreaking because in the past it was always an offer of a temporary relocation.” But, the city could not force residents to move to Pelican Park, a development that fronts on to the False Bay Ecology Park.

“It is their choice if they want to take the offer.”

Another meeting, with city housing officials and residents, has been scheduled for next week.

The Kraal has been a source of concern for several years, with criminals using it as thoroughfare from the Bo-Kaap to Strand Street. Bryant said the city would improve lighting in the area.

Despite the Kraal’s reputation as being unsafe, many residents said they lived without fear.

A man who said he had raised his children and grandchildren in the Kraal, said people “on that side” were being killed in gang wars.

“Here we feel safe. You don’t even hear a gunshot.”

anel.lewis@inl.co.za

- Cape Argus

Friday, March 13, 2015

The RDP houses for sale scandal

Cape Town - Subsidy houses, formerly known as RDP houses, are being sold illegally for cash on classified sites such as OLX or Gumtree, leaving the beneficiaries to return to informal settlements or the street.

Often the properties are sold below market value with no guarantee that the buyers will get the title deed they need to be the legal owners.

While formal statistics are scant, the Western Cape’s human settlements department says the illegal sale of RDP housing is widespread, and difficult to prevent.

In Dunoon, for example, only four out of 10 RDP houses are occupied by the original beneficiaries.

The national Department of Human Settlements said it was illegal for the recipient of an RDP house, now known as a Breaking New Ground house, to sell it before having lived in the structure for at least eight years.

“We are of the view that RDP houses must never be sold,” said ministerial spokesman Ndivhuwo Mabaya. “They must be improved and handed over from generation to generation. Our research is that these houses are sold to satisfy short-term interest and for financial relief. This is a problem, as the (seller) either returns to informal settlements or becomes a street citizen.”

During the eight years the beneficiary may only sell the property back to the provincial human settlements department.

Most of the time the house is sold at a price that covers the debt owed, not a price that reflects the full value of the property.

The national department said subsequent buyers usually would not qualify for state housing subsidies.

Mabaya said many of the property sales were illegal, with the sellers returning to informal settlements to “instigate protests and violence at times against the people they have sold houses to”.

They were being sold to “anyone who has money”.

The Cape Argus contacted someone who was advertising several RDP properties on OLX. In WhatsApp correspondence about the advertised property, he insisted the transaction had to be cash only. Subsidies would not be accepted.

A quick search on other online classified websites showed he was selling several properties, ranging from R100 000 to almost R200 000. In some cases he specified that the houses were more than 10 years old.

Bonginkosi Madikizela, Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements, said the resale of subsidy houses was almost impossible to prevent.

“We can have as many laws as we want but this is difficult to prevent. We are giving houses to people who have nothing to put on the table. A house is not a substitute for a job. That is why people end up selling or renting their house.”

Madikizela said the eight-year restriction, or pre-emptive clause, was forcing people to sell their houses illegally or informally. This often meant the new buyers would not get title deeds or proper transfer of the property. Sales on the informal market were “impossible to police”.

In response to a parliamentary question last August, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said there were no protocols to track the unlawful sale of subsidised houses. However, there was a record of cases reported to the respective provincial housing departments where the eight-year restriction had been waived.

Sisulu said the Western Cape government waived the eight-year pre-emptive right for 151 houses in the 2011-12 financial year, allowing the house to be sold after the beneficiary had lived there for two years.

In 2012-13, 389 houses were sold after only two years – 112 in the Eastern Cape, two in Limpopo and 275 in the Western Cape. The number increased to 2 852 in 2013-14, with most in the Eastern Cape. The Western Cape allowed for the sale of 154 houses after two years during this period.

Sisulu said the Eastern Cape provincial housing department reported the illegal sale of 112 houses in 2012, and 2 697 the following year.

Madikizela said the problem was widespread in the Western Cape. A recent study in Thembalethu, George revealed that out of 10 RDP houses, only one occupant was the original beneficiary. A study in Dunoon revealed only 40 percent of the RDP tenants were the original beneficiaries.

Many of the houses were being used as spaza shops.

Sisulu said in August last year the national department would conduct an occupancy audit of government houses.

“We have started auditing our waiting list in order to create the demand database to strengthen our allocation policies, to ensure that those who have benefited do not move to another municipality and benefit again,” said Mabaya.

An education campaign is to be launched next month, cautioning beneficiaries about the risks of selling their houses.

Mayoral committee member for human settlements Benedicta Van Minnen said the city dedicated “significant resources” to educating beneficiaries in financial management, basic legal advice, general home maintenance and repairs, and establishing food gardens to increase food security.

R165 000 cash, and three days later house is yours

At least seven RDP houses are listed “For Sale” on popular online advertising websites.

On Thursday a Cape Argus reporter, posing as a potential home buyer, met a man claiming to be a property developer who promised to have “the perfect house to sell”.

The man works for a company which advertises property on OLX and Gumtree.

He said he had properties in Khayelitsha, Eerste River, two in Happy Valley in Blackheath, two in Wesbank and one in Kuils River. The houses in Khayelitsha, Eerste River, Wesbank and Blackheath were RDP houses.

In an arranged house viewing visit to the house in Happy Valley, which was listed on sale for R165 000 cash, he warned about the condition of the house. “It’s not an ideal house unless you are looking into developing it and selling it later or renting it out.”

He attempted to persuade us to view the house in Eerste River, which he said was worth R400 000. “We are selling it for R200 000,” he quickly assured us.

The house in Happy Valley was semi-attached with barbed-wire fencing and two big trees in the front.

He told us: “I am a property developer. Normally a client approaches us to develop and then sell the property. But this particular client did not have money to develop the house – she just wants to sell it.”

He said the owner had a title deed and the company had received a document from the Human Settlements Department approving the sale of the house.

After viewing the house from the outside, we found that the home owner was in. The woman, who appeared to be in her fifties, said she was no longer living in the house and was renting it out.

She said she was tired of living in the area and wanted to get rid of it.

The house had one bedroom. It was empty inside except for a council rubbish bin. The ceiling needed a touch-up and the house needed repainting.

The owner left us with agent and did not take part in our talks. “The house is R165 000 – cash not subsidy,” he said. “That amount includes our transfer fees and client fees. Our lawyer takes care of the transfer.”

Once the amount was deposited into their account, the lawyer began processing the sale. “Our client moves out immediately the money is in her account and we give you a proof of transfer while the council is still processing it.

“Our lawyers and the department work very fast, it could be up to three days – but the council delays the process.”

He assured us that this was not the first time he had sold a house.

“If you guys sort your finances out I assure you, you can have the house, no hassles.”

anel.lewis@inl.co.za

- Cape Argus

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

230 000 households still using bucket toilets

Parliament - At least 230,000 households were still using the bucket system, Water and Sanitation director-general Margaret-Ann Diedricks said on Wednesday.

Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on water and sanitation, Diedricks informed MPs the use of the bucket toilet system was still widespread.

The department confirmed that 88,127 households in formal areas and 140,000 households in informal areas were using bucket toilets as a form of sanitation.

The figures were expected to climb, however, as authorities in four provinces have not confirmed the number of households still relying on the bucket system.

“It may of course go higher but we are waiting for KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng to confirm,” said Diedricks.

She said reports from provincial authorities showed the  households relying on this form of sanitation, the highest number of households using the bucket system:
  • Western Cape 59,932
  • Free State 46,758 
  • Eastern Cape 23 958 
  • Northern Cape  5,350
  • North West province 4,150
A total of 185 projects aimed at eradicating the bucket system were currently underway across the country’s nine provinces.

- ANA

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DA questions cost of fixing RDP houses

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday that the Department of Human Settlements had spent over R2 billion in the last three years to rectify poorly-built houses sometimes at the cost of R300 000 per house. This is three times the cost of a standard house built in the Reconstruction and Development Programme.

DA MP Makashule Gana said: “At this week’s Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements we learnt that it could cost up to R300 000 to restore just one RDP house. This is three times the cost of building one from scratch.

“The presentation revealed that in the Northern Cape, R6 929 000 was spent on the restoration of just 32 houses. This amounts to R216 000 per house,” Makashule said.

“In the Free State, the department spent almost R80 million on the restoration of just 264 houses in that province. This amounts to R302 250 per house. R334 million was spent in the Eastern Cape fixing 3 123 houses at R107 000 per house - that is just over the estimated cost of building a new one.

Makashule said it would have been cheaper to demolish the houses and build new, more durable ones and that he would be putting forward questions in parliament. He called on Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu to provide information on:

The contractors responsible for the original shoddy workmanship;

The exact nature of the repairs that cost more than it did to build the house; and

The systems put in place to monitor the quality of house being built.

“Due to over-charging, it now seems that far less houses were fixed than would otherwise have been possible with this money,” he added.

“In any event, the need to repair so many houses across the country points to a tender process that is highly irregular. The minister would do well to focus her efforts on ensuring that the process of awarding such contracts is objective, transparent and free from, what we suspect, is undue political influence.”

- ANA

Monday, March 2, 2015

Khayelitsha hall set alight, three held

Cape Town - A community hall in Khayelitsha was set alight by a mob of angry residents when their children returned home from a city sports and recreation function with suspected food poisoning.

It resulted in the closure of parts of the N2 on Saturday night.

On Saturday the city’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department hosted a youth games event at the OR Tambo Hall in Khayelitsha.

It is alleged that children from the BM informal settlement, near Mew Way, who attended the sporting event returned home with complaints of stomach cramps.

Their parents believed the cramps were caused by food poisoning. Three children were taken to the Khayelitsha Hospital.

In the early hours of Sunday the parents met a group of residents who were protesting for houses. The two groups worked together and set the community hall alight.

Three women were arrested.

Ward councillor Monde Nqulana said the three women were parents of the children who fell ill.

Nqulana said BM residents were upset by two issues - the first being housing. He said the BM residents were promised housing from the Bosasa project in Mfuleni after their homes were burnt down in 2013.

He said after a long wait the residents learnt that the project had been put on hold by the city. “Last night they decided to protest and closed the N2 and Lansdowne with tyre barricades.”

He said housing protesters met the parents of the children in the morning.

“The food poisoning spiked the anger and I am afraid the hall is badly damaged. I doubt that there will be any sports taking place there now. The infrastructure is badly damaged.”

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said police were deployed to the scene and were there most of the morning.

He confirmed the arrests of three women. “Arson and public violence are being investigated.”

Mayoral committee member for community services and special projects Belinda Walker condemned the torching of the community hall.

She said the kitchen of the facility was destroyed and other parts of the building suffered minor structural damage. “It’s horrifying that people think that burning down a hall and inconveniencing people for an extended period of time is the way to air their grievances.”

She confirmed that the city received reports that 30 children fell ill with suspected food poisoning and that the participants were taken to Khayelitsha for treatment.

“While officials were briefing parents regarding the situation, a group of community members entered the venue as they were under the impression the meeting was related to housing development and service delivery matters.”

Walker said after it was explained that the meeting was not housing-related the group left and later returned in the morning to torch the hall.

“The city will launch an investigation into the matter of food poisoning due to refreshments supplied by the service provider, Ameena Ebrahim Caterers, and will, if necessary, take action.”

Additional reporting by ANA

zodidi.dano@inl.co.za

- Cape Argus

Khayelitsha community hall burnt during protest, highway blocked

CAPE TOWN – Residents of Khayelitsha in Cape Town set fire to a community hall early on Sunday morning.

The incident follows service delivery protests yesterday, during which the N2 highway was blocked.

Community members say they're struggling to get the City of Cape Town to meet its housing commitments.

In 2013, residents of the B-M section were temporarily moved to another area, OR Tambo, after a fire destroyed their homes. They were then promised new houses in Mfuleni.

But after violence directed at the contractors in that area, the City of Cape Town put a stop to the Bosasa housing development.

“These people are angry because they can see they are not going to get what was agreed on between them and the City,” said ANC ward councillor, Monde Nqulwana.

A community member has accused the City of lying to them. “We were supposed to go to Bosasa in October. But that thing didn’t happen. They lied to us,” said Siyabulela Gifile. 

On Saturday, after three children contracted food poisoning at a community event, the protests escalated and the OR Tambo community hall was set alight the following morning.

Community members are angry that the mothers of the sick children have been detained.

"They say the only thing they want is for those parents to be released so they can interact with their sick children in hospital,” said Nqulwana.

While some community members are critical of the arsonists, others feel it’s the only way to get attention.

“The best way is to burn this hall,” said Gifile.

Khayelitsha community members have now threatened to block the N2 highway for as long as it takes, and say police will have to deploy extra forces for protection.

They’re vowing not to rest until Western Cape Premier Helen Zille herself comes to meet them, and until their demands for housing are met.

- eNCA

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Solar power for new Cape Town housing

Cape Town - Load shedding will become a dim memory for some residents of Belhar when work is completed next year on Cape Town’s first low-cost housing project to have solar-powered lighting.

“Residents will not be left in the dark when load shedding occurs,” said mayor Patricia de Lille.

“Not only is this good for the environment, it will also reduce residents’ electricity costs.”

De Lille launched the R34 million Belhar-Pentech development on Thursday with a promise, a plea and a strong caution to protect the development against drug dealers and shebeens.

She promised the 340 beneficiaries of the new project that their houses would be ready within 12 months, as scheduled.

“In an effort to speed up delivery we have appointed a contractor who will be building the houses and installing the bulk infrastructure simultaneously.”

But she also warned residents about letting drug dealers and illegal shebeens move into the development.

“You will sign a clause that says if there is any selling of drugs or alcohol, we will evict you. We mustn’t let (these people) live among us.”

She also urged the community to let the contractors do their work.

“There are lots of projects that are standing still because of community dynamics. We have got a year to finish this.

“If there are things that make you unhappy; don’t let it stall the project,” she said.

The 340 beneficiaries are from Belhar, Bellville South, Ravensmead and Elsies River.

Clarina Adams, who lives in the area, said she had told her children to give thanks every day for the opportunity to live in their own house.

She has been on the city’s housing waiting list since 1994.

De Lille said the city had managed to bring down the housing backlog from 400,000 to 258,000.

“It’s still a lot and it’s going to go up again because of urbanisation.” But she said the municipality was trying to speed up housing delivery.

“We are also not going to keep building rubbish for our poor people.”

The city was having to repair 40 000 RDP houses built without ceilings and adequate waterproofing, she said. This kind of shoddy construction ended up costing the municipality twice as much in repair costs.

De Lille said the Belhar development’s houses were designed to enable beneficiaries to build on to their two-bedroomed homes.

Each house has been allocated 120m2 of land specifically for this purpose, and the building plans for extensions have been pre-approved.

The development was close to transport routes, schools and employment opportunities, said De Lille.

The city has also committed 10 percent in rand value of the project - R3.5 million - to creating 100 jobs for the community through its expanded public works programme.

Councillor Desmond Jaftha, chair of Subcouncil 6, said he had already submitted motions for similar projects in other areas.

De Lille said efforts had been made to promote local skills and R5.2m had been set aside for local contractors to apply for subcontracting tenders.

The PVC solar panels would also be locally produced.

anel.lewis@inl.co.za

- Cape Argus

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bo-Kaap residents accused of torching shacks

Cape Town - About 60 shack dwellers living in the Bo-Kaap have been left destitute after their 12 shacks were torched last week, and they suspect unhappy local residents of being behind the fire.

Tensions are rising in the area, with angry residents accusing the shack dwellers of introducing a scourge of crime and drugs to the area.

The group of homeless people are now squatting under a tree on a street corner.

Bo-Kaap Civic chairman Osman Shaboodien said he had heard rumours of an arson attack, among other possible causes, for the fire that swept through the Farm, but there was no certainty.

“There’s nothing confirmed, and there’s no traces of a petrol bomb,” Shaboodien said.

“I don’t think members of the community would stoop to such a level. It’s inhumane.”

The area of land is known as the Farm, and was previously a military base along Military Road, which leads up to the Noon Day Gun. The land belongs to the Department of Public Works.

Hazel Maphomey had lived on the Farm for seven years before her shack was gutted.

“The police confirmed a petrol bomb was involved. We know people don’t want us here.”

She appealed to the Bo-Kaap residents: “Please understand what we’re going through, and just have a heart. All I want is for the community around us to bear with us. We have nowhere else to go.”

But Bo-Kaap residents meeting police, Neighbourhood Watch and ward councillor Dave Bryant on Monday night said the “squatters” had caused a scourge of crime, violence and drugs in the area, and they felt threatened in their homes and feared for the safety of their children.

“Everybody in this community is scared,” said one woman.

“I live on that corner and they are constantly targeting me.”

A man added: “They jump over the walls and washing disappears off lines.”

Another said: “They are selling drugs and poisoning our children.”

But Rose Hendricks, who has lived on the Farm for six years, said many of the people living there were not criminals.

“They tried to kill innocent people,” she said.

“Not all of us are doing drugs here.”

Hendricks burst into tears when she thought about her kitten that died in the fire.

“She was only two months old. I don’t have children, I only had that cat. I loved that cat.”

Edward Abrahams has lived in the Bo-Kaap for 50 years, and said the squatters had made life hell for residents.

“These people are not supposed to be here,” he said.

“A lot of criminals have come over from The Kraal, and drug users come up from the Parade. Our life is one big hell here.”

Abrahams said a tourist was mugged there just days earlier, in the area surrounding Signal Hill and the Noon Day Gun.

“How’s it going to affect tourism when people can’t even go up there in safety?”

The Bo-Kaap residents decided to reconvene in two weeks, when they hope Public Works will be present at the meeting.

chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

- Cape Argus

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cape Town’s own Nkandla

Cape Town - Cape Town has its very own Nkandla. But unlike President Jacob Zuma’s multi-million rand homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, it has no “firepools”, cattle pens, tuck shops or other R246-million security features.

Instead residents of Nkandla in Mfuleni live on an open field without basic facilities such as running water or toilets, and now even without shelter.

Some of the almost 80 people live in makeshift tents, patched together from bits and pieces of used material.

Most of them sleep under the stars on old and broken mattresses, and food is cooked over bonfires.

The group were among over a thousand people who were evicted from Fountain Village in Blue Downs last year.

Yongama Folose of the Mfuleni Backyarders Organisation, says they first moved into a big tent, which they named Nkandla, on the open field.

“We clubbed together R1 each to hire the tent, and we paid R1 000 per week,” he said.

“But the number of people dropped and we couldn’t afford to rent the tent anymore.”

He said most of the people have left to move in with family and friends in other areas.

“Every time we build a structure, law enforcement comes and demolish it. But we are not moving from here because we have nowhere to go,” he adds.

Mama Yandisa Vika, 30, who lives with her two-year-old baby girl on the field says it’s been tough on them: “When the night comes it hurts me so much.

“Imagine I have to sleep with my daughter in the open under the moonlight. It was better when we had a tent, at least we had a roof over our heads.”

Folose also accused ward councillor Themba Honono of ignoring their plight.

But Honono says people were warned not to occupy the land, which he says belongs to the city council.

“But they were ordered by Ses’khona members to occupy the land,” says Hono.

Ses’khona spokesperson Sithembele Majova denied the allegations: “We are aware of the eviction, but we did not order the occupation of the land.

“As an organisation we believe people should be provided with an alternative place to stay when they are evicted.

“It is councillor Honono’s ward, and he is unable to manage it,” said Majova.

- Daily Voice