Durban — A group of residents, desperate for houses, are in a tussle with KwaDukuza Municipality (KDM) after they invaded Rocky Park flats illegally.
The illegal occupants claimed they illegally occupied the units because they had been on the housing waiting list for several years. The Rocky Park KDM project began in 2010 and was expected to provide more than 700 units for the community, but to date fewer than 90 people have moved in, said a resident on condition of anonymity.
Last Friday, KDM security removed the residents, but by Thursday some had returned, saying they were homeless. Some spent the week sleeping under the housing unit stairs.
Most of the residents claimed to belong to the ANC Central Business District branch of KDM ward 19. Branch leader and Rocky Park occupant Thami Mbonambi, said some women and children were physically abused and property such as furniture broken in the process.
Mbonambi told the Daily News they were living in fear of another removal.
The residents narrated the pain they felt when woken by council security on Friday, around 4am.
They said their unit doors were kicked down and their items thrown outside. During the chaos, some claimed they were verbally and even physically abused.
“The municipality for years has been giving us empty promises that we would be given occupancy when the Rocky Park council flats are finished,” Mbonambi said.
KwaZulu-Natal Human Settlements Department spokesperson Mlungisi Khumalo said as the government, they condemned the illegal occupation of incomplete council property as happened in the Rocky Park scenario.
“We appeal to our people that if the government property is not complete, and the occupants have not been legally allocated the properties, it is dangerous to move into such property because it can become a safety hazard.
“In future, we urge the members of the community to desist from occupying municipal property illegally – before safety measures have been undertaken.”
KwaDukuza Municipality spokesperson Sipho Mkhize said they were only doing their job when they evicted illegal occupants.
“People who invade municipal property know they are doing so illegally. These people took advantage that the property was built close to their areas, and therefore decided that it was built for them.”
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