Ricochet News

Evicted Motherwell residents now asking Metro to 'lend' them unused land

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 11, 2017
Evicted Motherwell residents now asking Metro to 'lend' them unused land

Four months after the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality carried out evictions from its land in the Motherwell and Wells Estate area, those evicted, mostly residents of NU29 in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, say their grievances are still to be addressed and instead of continuing to wait for RDP homes from the Metro, they are now asking authorities to allow them to utilise the unused municipal land from which they were evicted in June.

The evictions sparked violent protests from the residents and resulted in road closures and damage to vehicles while some residents were injured. Around 17 people were arrested for public violence in the protests.

Vulikhaya Phasiya, who was one of the leaders during those protests, told RNEWS that there are many residents, who have been waiting for housing allocations for many years now.

Phasiya himself said that he has been renting in NU29 since 2001 when he first applied to be on the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s housing waiting list.

“I have been in the municipal waiting list since 2001 until today.  This list is a problem because you wait and wait until you die, what we want now is very clear – there is no confusion at all,” he said.

“We don’t want houses now, we just want to borrow this unused land while we wait for our formal houses.

“We are tired of waiting and ‘bothering’ the municipality that is why we decided to just occupy this land.”

Phasiya, who currently lives in a shack on someone’s yard, claimed that corruption exists in the municipality’s housing allocation process.  

“There are old people living here. But, newly-built houses are given to other people, who don’t even stay here, and what we see is that our councillors sell these houses,” he described.

“Many houses were sold for as little as R5 000 as a result, those who paid have houses.”

Nomandla Sibayoni, another resident in a similar situation, said that she too is tired of renting.

“I can’t handle the rent anymore, it is just too much. I pay R1 000 a month and I have been renting since 2000,” she described.

“I have been going up and down, applying and registering for a house, but even today I’m still without a house.”

Sibayoni said that, at each election, they were promised a speedy allocation of houses.

“We are saying to our leaders; help us get houses like you promised when we were voting for you. Now, when we come to you, you just ignore our requests and act surprised when you see us burning  tyres in the streets,” she said.

“When you see us taking action, you destroy and throw away our stuff in the trash, what do you want us  to do and where do you want us to stay?

“You are sending the police to chase us up and down like we have committed crime or we are animals while as you don’t do anything for us, where is the freedom and democracy when you keep treating us this way after we have voted for you?”