West Cape News: Mayor called to intervene in housing corruption

This article was also published in The New Age.


Mayor called to intervene in housing corruption

by Francis Hweshe

Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille has been requested to intervene in the alleged ongoing corruption at the Temporary Relocation Area (TRA) in Langa.

Housing activists there have alleged that community leaders in Langa are illegally selling houses set aside for people from Joe Slovo informal settlement who are being moved to make way for new housing developments in the area.

The TRA dwellings are allegedly being sold for prices in the region of R2 500.

The allegations were raised after Thandeka Ngcelwa, an epilepsy sufferer who was officially allocated a TRA house, returned home on Friday 13 July to find the lock on her door replaced and all her belongings on the street.

Housing and anti-eviction organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo alleged that community leader Zukisani Sibunzi had moved someone else into Ngcelwa’s house, an allegation Sibunzi has denied.

Today Ngcelwa had still not got her house back and is staying at her brother’s house.

Abahlali baseMjondolo on Monday sent a letter to De Lille, requesting that she visit the Langa TRA where there was a “crisis of corruption and misallocation of government built shacks”.

“Rightful residents are being evicted (such as in the case of Thandeka Ngcelwane) and political party connected individuals are being allocated multiple shacks and RDP houses in the N2 Gateway project,” the organisation claimed.

The organisation has threatened to take “alternative action” if De Lille does not respond to the letter within seven days.

Abahlali baseMjondolo activist Cindy Ketani said the operations manager of the Housing Development Agency (HDA) implementing the housing project, Bosco Khoza, on Monday sent letters to people illegally occupying TRA houses notifying them they would be evicted in seven days.

But she says she suspects the HDA of protecting corrupt community leaders who continue to misallocate houses.

She said a woman had approached her recently to confess she had bought a house for R2 500 from community leaders but had not received it and had now been given her money back.

She was also concerned that people who were rightfully occupying TRA houses received letters notifying them of impending eviction.

Khoza could not be reached for comment.

De Lille’s spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the Mayor had received Abahlali baseMjondolo’s letter and would “apply her mind” before responding.

Asked if she would go out and meet with the people, he said that he would not want to pre-empt her response. – Francis Hweshe