Motsoaledi residents issue warning

Published May 6, 2013


Johannesburg - For weeks, the Motsoaledi informal settlement in Soweto has been up in arms as meetings regarding service delivery issues were delayed.

City of Joburg member of the mayoral committee for housing Dan Bovu spoke before a large number of residents on Sunday and delivered a long-awaited update on the council’s progress.

Bovu said he could promise the community housing and toilets, with construction set to begin after engineers had appraised the area in August or September.

This comes as part of the Elias Motsoaledi housing development project, which began in March 2011 and was meant to create 1 463 RDP houses and 3 000 rental and bonded houses.

In the next week, more discussions are planned, with City Power to work on providing temporary electricity to the area - long-term power to the area is a hopeful goal for next year.

The community accepted Bovu’s statement but were wary of the late-winter deadline.

“We told him that if anything doesn’t happen the way they say, we’re going to be ungovernable,” said Johannes Latedisa, a spokesman for the settlement.

“If anything happens, they must take the blame for it.”

These latest promises come in response to protests in mid-April during which a KFC outlet was burnt down and shops in Motsoaledi were ransacked in what appeared to be xenophobic violence. Nearly 20 people were arrested and a man died.

While police originally claimed the man had been stabbed to death, the notice of death showed he had died from a gunshot wound in the chest, and locals allege he was shot by the police.

Tension in the community remained high yesterday, as there was fear that the police intended arresting more people for the previous violence.

While the discussion remained peaceful and free of police interference, a fight broke out among two residents, and Bovu’s speech was often interrupted by cries of disagreement.

Bovu warned the community that the promises he made could not apply to everyone, because more people were drawn to Motsoaledi as they learnt of the government’s commitment to build homes.

“There are people who are coming in, but now we are stopping that. We spoke to the community. No one is coming in as a tenant,” Latedisa said.

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