Category Archives: Michael Nkalane

Sowetan: No joy despite food parcels

Jan 5, 2011 | Michael Nkalane

“HOW can you only give food to someone who does not have a place to sleep? We will eat, then what follows after? I do not understand how our government thinks. Our government is stupid,” said Luyanda Lekwe of Masiphumelele in Fish Hoek.

He was expressing his concern yesterday during a visit by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies where 166 shacks were gutted by fire on Sunday, leaving 500 families destitute.

The disgruntled Lekwe said instead of giving food parcels the government should have a corrugated iron factory in place ready for such disasters.

“I understand that they don’t live in these appalling conditions,” he said.

Re-erecting his gutted shack with damaged material, Luyanda Mbane said the only way to avoid fires, which occurred frequently, was to install electricity.

“As long as we do not have electricity in shacks we will continue to endure such fires,” he said.

Handing over food parcels the minister told residents that government was offering its solidarity. He cautioned them against using flammable materials.

“From now we will pay attention to the safety of shacks. We will prevent these fires from happening by making sure that paraffin stoves sold to people meet safety requirements,” he promised.

He said residents would be built decent houses. According to residents, the fire was caused by an unattended stove.

Zwelethu Stata, who arrived yesterday from Eastern Cape, said he was greeted by an empty space where his shack used to be.

“I lost belongings such as wall units, a washing machine, sofas and my bed,” he said.

When Sowetan spoke to him he was re-erecting his shack.

“But my concern is that I am short of material. We are a family of six here.

They are still in Eastern Cape and I do not know how I am going to break the news to them,” he said.

Neliswa Madubula said at least her family of six would have something to cook.

She said she had managed to save only her suitcase.

“I lost everything. I will never forget that Sunday.”

Sowetan: Protests put a stop to housing

Protests put a stop to housing

by Michael Nkalane

ABOUT 150 backyard dwellers from Khayelitsha in Cape Town have brought construction of new houses in the area to a complete standstill.

The group wants 50 percent of the houses to be allocated to them.

Silulani Mzimkhulu said they were dissatisfied because backyard dwellers from other townships were prioritised ahead of them.

“We were promised 50-50. But none of that is happening. They are building 100 houses for the people of Gugulethu.

“That’s not fair,” he said.

Another Mandela Park backyard dweller, Luvo Vanyaza said their ward councillor, Ryder Mkutswana of the ANC, had not lived up to his promise to set up a meeting with MEC for housing Bonginkosi Madikizela.

“For the past two weeks, Mkutswana has been promising us that we will meet the MEC. The construction must stop until we meet the MEC. We will continue protesting until we strike a 50percent deal with Madikizela. We want him to come and address us,” Vanyaza said.

But Mkutswana told Sowetan he had arranged a meeting with the MEC.

“Only the MEC can give them what they want. As a councillor I don’t have the power to give them houses. The MEC agreed to meet them this week,” he said.

A memorandum handed over at the construction site last week demanded that 50percent of housing in Mandela Park should be allocated to the 3000 backyard dwellers and other vulnerable residents.

The protestors also want Madikizela to negotiate with residents of Mandela Park and to allocate either RDP houses or government-subsidised homes to backyard dwellers.

“Just because some of us have jobs and don’t qualify for RDP housing does not mean we can afford to pay bonds in Mandela Park. All poor residents of Mandela Park deserve public housing.

“We will stop at nothing to make sure that we become the centre of development in Mandela Park.

“The longer the MEC ignores us, the more means we will use to get what we deserve,” read the memorandum.

Provincial housing spokesperson Zalisile Mbali said they have identified three other sites for the backyard dwellers.