Housing backlog leads to protest

Residents from Parkside and Buffalo Flats Extension marched to City Hall on March 15 to protest the housing backlog in the metro.

Residents say they have been waiting for homes for the last 30 years.

Currently, the metro has a backlog of 121,000 housing units.

Those who joined the protest action were promised homes in line with the BCMM housing sector plan to address spatial inequalities of the previous dispensation and to provide housing for growing influx of people into urban communities.

Local political party, the Progressive Community Movement (PCM) handed over a memorandum of demands to representatives from the BCMM, requesting a meeting with the mayor’s office and the departments of land affairs, spatial planning, human settlement, and infrastructure.

This comes after a previous meting was not attended by officials on March 11. The memorandum provides BCMM with seven days to respond.

PCM members said, “We are coming in peace today but if they don’t respond with a meeting date in seven days, we won’t be as peaceful as this next time they see us.”

Concerned resident Farhana Ahmed has been waiting for a home for close to 20 years.

“I have been moving around from place to place with my children for years, and this year in particular its been very hard for us because I have already moved three times.

“Every month since 2005, I have signed a declaration with the municipality confirming  that I still haven’t received a home but nothing comes of this.

“BCMM must hear the people’s cry.

“I hope that after this, the officials come to the table with concrete plans to provide us with homes.”

Spokesperson for BCMM, Samkelo Ngwenya said, “We acknowledge the grievances and we share the concern that our residents have expressed.

“While this is an emotional subject, it is a matter that must be handled with facts, and we need to be clinical in our approach.

“As a result, the metro will convene a session with the relevant affected directly affected directorates within a prescribed number of days.

“This engagement will also ensure that the leadership of the residents are part of deliberations so that we can get to the bottom of the issues and provide tangible solutions.”

Public service accountability monitor, Thoko Sipungu and Ndodana Nleya have said that the excessive housing backlogs and other flaws in state housing plans across the country were worsened by a dysfunctioning system that results in fraudulent allocations of housing opportunities to people who do not qualify, subletting and illegal transfers.

RIGHTS INFRINGED: Demonstrators outside City Hall in Oxford Street, East London. Picture: TAMMY FRAY


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