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Councillors seek solutions to Bay's housing challenges at Human Settlements Indaba

By Afikile Lugunya - Aug 13, 2018
Councillors seek solutions to Bay's housing challenges at Human Settlements Indaba

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Human Settlements Directorate on Monday kicked started their three-day Human Settlements Indaba.

According to the Metro, the purpose of the Indaba is to discuss the strategies and priorities of Human Settlements development in Nelson Mandela Bay.

"The discussions will also solicit the inputs and perspectives of the key stakeholders. It is also expected to assist the Municipality in forging partnerships with business and investors for a shared vision for Human Settlements development," said spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki.

"The Indaba is also expected to come up with solutions regarding dealing with challenges of Land Invasions within Metro."

He said that Human Settlements Minister, Nomaindiya Mfeketho, and Eastern MEC for Human Settlements, Mlungisi Mvoko, have confirmed their attendance.

"They are expected to be among the main speakers at the Indaba. Also expected to attend are stakeholders like the Housing Development Agency (HDA), National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC), banks dealing with housing finance, developers and all municipal directorates."

Day one of the Indaba saw local Ward Councillors discussing strategies and priorities for human settlements development in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

African National Congress (ANC) PR Councillor, Noluthando Queen Pink, said that what keeps her awake at night is the fact that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Department of Human Settlement seems to have no clear plans because they have projects that are not monitored after they have been put in place.

In response, the Department's Executive Director, Nolwandle Gqiba, said that a document will be prepared, which will have all the proposals from the Indaba, which then will go to the standing committee in council for budgeting.

Nontuthuzelo Sikweyiya, from ward 47, said that the houses that were built in 1994 have cracked because they were not built properly and as a Councillor, she frequently gets questioned about why those houses are not being fixed while other houses are fixed.

Meanwhile Councillor Xola Tyhali (Ward 28), said that pensioners are suffering in his ward.

"They call Councillors to fix their houses instead of calling Ministers and when as Councillors are unable to meet their demands, they embark on a protest, close roads and burn tyres making us victims of such." 

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and other municipalities countrywide has in recent times witnessed violent housing delivery protests - with frustrations about percieved delays or corruption on the RDP housing waiting lists.

The MMC of Human Settlements in Nelson Mandela Bay, Nqaba Bhanga, said that the Indaba was being conducted to find solutions of all the problems mentioned by the Councillors and to resolve problems faced by the people of the City.

He said land invasions by landless residents was becoming a major problem in the Bay and a solution for that must be found by the end of the Indaba on Wednesday.

Bhanga explained that in the rural areas, people build their own houses unlike in the townships where people have to wait to get approval from the municipality to occupy land while awaiting the government to build them an RDP house.

He said a possible solution will be for the Metro to identify land and allow people to build their own houses without waiting for the government to do so.

However, to avoid chaos, a proper plan will have to be communicated to make this a success after the municipality has bought land for those people.

Main image: MMC of Human Settlements in Nelson Mandela Bay, Nqaba Bhanga, and the Department's Executive Director, Nolwandle Gqiba.