The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has announced that it will be investigating BCM following allegations of human rights violations by the DA.
According to the DA, BCM was violating the human rights of beneficiaries of the incomplete Fynbos 1 and 2 housing projects.
“Last month the DA wrote to the SAHRC and laid a formal complaint against the BCMM for its failure to complete the Fynbos 1 and 2 projects – where beneficiaries have been stuck in temporary shelters for the past six years,” said DA Buffalo City constituency leader Chantel King.
“I recently conducted an oversight inspection at Fynbos 1 and 2, and it was yet again highlighted that beneficiaries live in very small rooms with no proper ventilation.
“Communal toilets are in a terrible state, sewage flows in the streets and no waste management systems are in place. This is a blatant violation of their rights to human dignity and to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.”
Responding to parliamentary questions in October last year, department of human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that there were, at the time, 72 housing projects in the BCM area with over 27,000 beneficiaries.
45 of those projects had been classified as “running”, meaning that some expenditure had been incurred. Also, over 9,000 housing units were awaiting completion.
Sisulu said there were a number of reasons for the delay in the housing projects. These included:
- Lack of integrated planning between the provincial and municipal government
- Delays in electricity connection and beneficiary verification
- Untraceable beneficiaries
- Poor performance of contractors, and
- Ongoing illegal occupation of housing units
“We have dealt with various organisations in relation to the issues surrounding Fynbos and these include two court cases and even the Public Protector investigated the matter,” said BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya.
“At all material times we have been cooperative and assisted in ensuring that there’s a permanent lasting solution.”
“We are addressing the SAHRC by undertaking maintenance at the temporary relocation units and we are also undertaking the provision of temporary relocation units for the homeless invaders as part of undertaking a peaceful resolution to this quagmire.
“We are also responding formally to the SAHRC through our legal department.”
Ngwenya said the issue of illegal occupation posed ongoing dangers to both municipal staff and law enforcement.
“This issue could use internal community-driven solutions where people on all affected sides can find each other and settle on what is best for the community in the interest of the law and humanity,” he said.
“It must also be noted that some of the displaced invaders who were residing at the Billy Fancis Hall are now being moved to recently installed temporary location units (TRUs) at Sevende Laan Township whilst we are exploring a permanent solution.
“These are the incumbents who were evicted from the Fynbos projects and they have been pre-screened accordingly so as to determine if they qualify for housing subsidies.”