Ricochet News

Raymond Mhlaba Municipality residents threaten to occupy vacant land

JUNE 13, 2017
Raymond Mhlaba Municipality residents threaten to occupy vacant land

The proposed peaceful protest on Tuesday by Raymond Mhlaba Municipality residents in which they plan to hand over a petition over a lack of housing opportunities to Mayor Bandile Ketelo, is yet another clear indication of how the municipality continues to fail the poor residents, the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape said.

The municipality, which is based at Fort Beaufort, was established after the August 2016 local elections by the merging of Nkonkobe and Nxuba local municipalities.

According to Cecilia Auld - a DA Raymond Mhlaba Municipality PR Councillor; "The protesters, who are mainly comprised of residents from the Goodwin Park community in Bedford, have been living in inhumane conditions for the past 23 years.

"They are demanding that the Mayor grant them permission, within 7 days, to erect temporary structures on an area of vacant land they have identified, failing which they will do so regardless of the consequences."

She said that the African National Congress (ANC) has shown that it does not care for the poor in Goodwin park.

"They have been making promises for the past 23 years but have failed dismally to deliver and provide relief to residents living in inhumane living conditions.

"Raymond Mhlaba Municipality has long been accused of corruption in the management of housing applications, beneficiary lists and allocation of houses in Bedford. There are numerous instances where beneficiaries are allocated erf numbers but when the houses were due to be handed over, they are given to persons who have never lived in that community and some who were never on the original housing list," described Auld.

"According to one of the community leaders, Gavin Saterdag, the lack of low cost housing in Bedford have led residents to conclude that they are a forgotten people that the government does not care about.

"While the DA believes that every South African family should have access to adequate shelter and supports the interpretation of section 26 of the constitution which requires that this right must be ‘progressively realised’, we still do not support the illegal occupation of land.

"We call on the Mayor, Hon Cllr Ketelo, to engage residents on this matter and ensure that there is transparency in the allocation of low cost housing and to ultimately avoid illegal occupancy of land in the municipality."