AEC: MEC for Housing re-negs on 5 houses promise for Mandela Park Backyarders

Mandela Park Backyarders Press Release
7 May 2010


Last year, the Western Cape MEC for Housing, lied to us over and over, eventually giving Mandela Park residents only 5 houses of the 437 houses that were built and promised to us in Mandela Park.

As Mandela Park Backyarders, we took the decision with the support of the Ward 97 councillor, to allocate these five houses to five of our most vulnerable members. However, recently, we have found out that the MEC for Housing together with the Ward 97 councillor and his “task team”, have reverse the decision to grant us houses.

After extensive community consultations, of which the councillor and the task team participated, the community themselves decided and democratically voted on who in their community was deemed to be in most need. The names of 5 people (3 young people and 2 older persons) were identified. All these people are vulnerable backyarders from Mandela Park. SEBRA, SANCO and the councilor were part of this meeting. These names were identified with the view that the Department of Housing as well as SEBRA will put them through a verification process to ascertain whether they meet the criteria for housing provision as is currently stipulated by law. SEBRA has subsequently confirmed that all five individuals do indeed meet this criteria. It is with great sadness (though not surprising given the history of lies by this MEC) that we learn that the allocation of housing to Mandela Park backyarders has now been blocked by the minister and his cronies.

This controversy has happened in the middle of winter when our shacks are leaking and flooding. We have buckets all around our shacks to try to prevent water flooding into our homes.

The minister is trying to take away the little that the backyarders have fought for and won. And this while he continues to lie to the people that he has a plan for the Mandela Park Backyarders, who have not benefited from any development in the area for the 20 years of Mandela Park’s existence. The oly thing the MEC does for us, is threaten, harass and get us arrested.

The MEC will be in Mandela Park on the 9th May. As backyarders we have NOT been invited to this meeting. However, we have heard from reliable sources that he will be there to address ‘the people’. We wonder why we, the poorest residents in the area, are not considered part of ‘the people’. We also wonder what lies he is bringing this time around after avoiding Mandela Park for so long while evictions continue under his nose.

We want to warn the minister that if he does come to Mandela Park, the backyarders will be there as well and he is going to listen to us whether he likes it or not. We are tired of being ignored. We deserve humane treatment too. We deserve the dignity of being engaged with meaningfully.

Winter is here and our children are getting sick from sleeping on damp blankets while the MEC sleeps in warmth given to him by Helen Zille!


Mabhuti – 072 495 8384

Nosipho – 073 5878980

Slulami – 071 433 1101

Nolukholo – 083 9672490

Luzuko – 073 2940107

Sibongile – 071 6230546