Pietermaritzburg - The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal said on Monday provincial member of the executive council for human settlement, Ravi Pillay, must be held answerable for the invasion by ex-military combatants of 120 flats in Pietermaritzburg earmarked for ordinary residents.

Two weeks ago, 200 heavily armed uMkhonto weSizwe ex-combatants, together with veterans from the Pan Africanist Congress’s Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) and Azapo’s Azanian National Liberation Army (Azanla) invaded the Aloe Ridge complex after overpowering staff and seizing keys.

They have refused to leave despite an eviction order granted by the Pietermaritzburg high court in favour of the development’s owner, Capital City Housing NPC.

Aloe Ridge is a 950 residential apartments project designed to give low income groups access to rental accommodation within the city. It was built by Capital City in conjunction with the department of human settlement.

The ex-military combatants say they decided to move into the flats after the ruling African National Congress provincial government  failed to deliver on former President Jacob Zuma's promise to provide them with free housing.

DA spokesperson on human settlement in KZN, George Mari, demanded an explanation for the debacle.

"The department could have done far more to move the process along. Instead, what we have is a volatile situation with military veterans refusing to move and a long list of people who have a rightful claim to the flats," Mari said.

"The DA expects MEC Ravi Pillay to explain how matters were allowed to deteriorate to this point and to act to rectify them. This is a prime example of what happens when the ANC makes promises which it cannot keep."

Mari said the dignity of owning a home should not be hampered by government inefficiencies.

African News Agency/ANA