Ex-councillor leads disgruntled shack dwellers’ march
Johannesburg - One of Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina’s arch-detractors wants him out of office and has gone as far as accusing him of using his power to target political opponents who often disagree with him.
Nkosinathi Shabalala, a former Ward 60 councillor and former member of the ANC regional executive committee, alleges that Masina and his leadership had collectively pushed for him to be suspended by the party for siding with his community over the failure of the metro to implement IDP (integrated development plan) priorities for his ward.
Speaking outside the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in Joburg yesterday, where he led a march of more than 100 members from his ward, Shabalala said many people had been forced to stay in shacks for years, despite the government having approved their housing subsidies.
“The ANC-led government has fed us with empty promises for the past ten years while they were allocating houses and stands to their preferred beneficiaries. We have been voting cows for them to ascend to power,” Shabalala said.
He maintained that the metro had abandoned even those it had issued with approvals for housing subsidies.
“There are about 600 people with approved subsidies. If they go to another province and apply for a house, they are told that they already have a house in Ekurhuleni, yet they are still trapped in shacks. We have evidence with us now.”
Accompanying the memorandum were copies of the housing approvals which the disgruntled residents said the municipality had given them.
“We are prepared to take your political party and government to the highest court to address our problems,” Shabalala said.
The councillor walked away from the Ekurhuleni council and the ANC’s regional executive committee in August, saying he was tired of making excuses for the metro over its failure to deliver.
Shabalala said he would also approach the courts to challenge his subsequent suspension by the party, which he said was irregular as he was never given reasons for the step.
“We are waiting for the original copy of the suspension letter, which they refuse to hand over,” he said.
With his post left vacant by his resignation, Shabalala said he would mobilise the community to ensure the ANC did not win if the demands they were making were not addressed.
Masina and ANC chief whip Jongizizwe Dlabathi could not be reached for comment before going to print.
The national office has been given seven days to respond to their grievances.