Premier scolds protesters

Premier Sylvia Lucas is seen here addressing Lerato Park and Bobo se Plaas residents. Photo: Soraya Crowie

Premier Sylvia Lucas is seen here addressing Lerato Park and Bobo se Plaas residents. Photo: Soraya Crowie

Published Jul 2, 2015


Lerato Park - Premier Sylvia Lucas on Wednesday scolded the community for their rudeness and for taking their unhappiness to the streets.

This comes after another protest where the roads in Lerato Park were barricaded with rocks and burning tyres during the early hours of on Wednesday morning.

Community members are angry that the June 30 deadline has passed without any names of the beneficiaries of the new houses under construction being announced as promised.

Police officers physically pushed back members of the community and journalists, preventing them from standing behind the Premier, as they initially struggled to hear her speaking without a loudspeaker.

Lucas warned that the housing project would not go in if the community continued to protest.

“I have evidence that the community threatened housing officials for conducting door-to-door visits in order to verify the housing beneficiary lists. I also received messages on my phone where I was threatened.

“The project will not go on if people feel intimidated, where tyres are being burnt and stones are flying through the air.”

She added that the community should report bribes that were being exchanged to secure houses.

“Ons is nie hier om skollies vet te maak nie (we are not here to enrich lawbreakers). The community will be involved in deciding who will receive houses.”

Lucas added the identities of the new housing recipients would be done in a structured manner at a community hall at a date that has yet to be announced.

“Each person will be given an opportunity to scrutinise the list. We don’t have time for cowards who want to complain behind our backs.”

She also stated that the houses where illegal occupants had moved into in the first batch of houses that had been built were the subject of a legal battle.

“The eviction process is ongoing. No one will be allowed to move into the houses until the matter has been finalised in court.”

She instructed community members to decide who their leaders were.

“Some of the leaders are in positions in order to promote their own interests and are rude towards me.”

Lucas advised the community to direct requests for the provision of water and electricity in the informal settlement to the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

She added that Sol Plaatje executive mayor, David Molusi, was “at school” and that he had yet to honour his outstanding appointment to visit Lerato Park.

“I don’t wish to speak on his behalf because infrastructure is the responsibility of the municipality. Molusi will be coming back on Thursday (today).”

Residents branded the meeting as a “waste of time” and shunned the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) Alvin Botes, who also arrived with the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Martha Bartlett.

“We don’t want Alvin because he is telling us lies,” residents of Lerato Park and Bobo se Plaas said.

“We don’t want a repeat of Phase 1 where beneficiaries who are not entitled to the houses benefited through underhanded tactics involving government officials.”

Botes, who previously indicated that the names of the beneficiaries would be presented before the end of June, did not address the gathering on Wednesday.

Community members pointed out that no-one had seen the list that was apparently at Coghsta.

They also said were aggrieved that they were accused of being drunk over the weekend, where arrangements were discussed to schedule the meeting to reveal the identities of the housing recipients.

“We want the ward councillor to be there,” they demanded before threatening to burn more tyres.

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