Friday, July 29, 2011

After an 18 Year Wait for Houses Residents Build Shacks by Force

Sthembiso Sithole

Soshanguve residents without government subsidised houses are calling for their councillors to step down as they say they haven’t fulfilled any of the promises made before elections. They say they had been promised houses but this hasn’t happened and as a result about 100 families have decided to build their own shacks rather than sit and wait for the people tasked with assisting them. Some even accuse those in power of selling these free houses to foreign nationals – an accusation that has been the cause of many alleged xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

“The current elected councillors are misrepresenting us. That is why I call for Soshanguve to unset (Simon) Maratula,” says one of the residents.

In the township’s extension 7 residents say they have even taken their grievances to the Department of Human Settlement but their requests have been largely ignored.

The Soshanguve Housing Data Base Council (SOHDACO) is a group of residents who say they applied for RDP houses in 1994 without a single one being built.The group says proper procedure was followed. SOHDACO chairperson, Matshona Matjeke, says they have been in and out of Housing Department offices and are always told that they are on a waiting list. As a result these residents have met in the township and decided to write an authoritative to the City of Tshwane. It seems there isn’t enough land for their interim solution an.

“We are now fighting for space where we can build our [shacks]. By tomorrow shacks must be standing in extension 7 to show that we are serious about occupying the place,” says Matjeke.

SOHDACO Secretary, Patrick Masuku says they can no longer wait for change and they must take what they want as they have been ignored in the past. “If people can use force they will get what they want. The issue of foreign nationals getting houses that we have applied for a long time, is creating problems,” explains Masuku.

Some residents are concerned about the lack of safety in the township and worry about police reaction to it as they say a Metro police shot a 72 year old lady with a rubber bullet during the public meeting.

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