Olievenhoutbosch residents will not allow people from Mooiplaas informal settlement to move into these illegally occupied RDP houses in Extension 27 as promised by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency/ANA

Pretoria - Blood will be shed if the provincial government and City of Tshwane relocated any other person except local residents and backyard dwellers to the new, illegally occupied RDP houses in Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27.

This was the message from residents of Olievenhoutbosch, who vowed that no person, from Mooiplaas informal settlement as promised by the province and the City, or any other place for that matter, would occupy the new houses.

Last Thursday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and executive mayor Solly Msimanga told a public meeting that the relocation of residents from Mooiplaas informal settlement in Centurion to Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27 was back on the government agenda and would start before the end of the year.

During the meeting, Makhura and Msimanga informed residents that as a sign of progress, they would begin by relocating 350 beneficiaries out of the 841 initially agreed upon before the turn of the year.

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Msimanga told residents that development could not take place in the area as 70% of the land in Mooiplaas was dolomite and would lead to problems later on. As a result, four pieces of land had been identified around the metro for relocation, he said.

Makhura, speaking at the same meeting, said it was the responsibility of the leadership to help bring the Mooiplaas and Olievenhoutbosch communities together. “We are not taking sides in this matter because we want you all to live in peace together,” he said at the meeting.

Mooiplaas residents later voiced their fears at being moved into Olievenhoutbosch, saying that there was no way people in that area would let them stay there in peace.

But Makhura assured them the first step in the process would be to conduct verification of those who were already occupying the houses. Those illegally in the houses would then have to be removed to ensure the rightful beneficiaries could move in.

“We have spoken to the community of Olievenhoutbosch to make them understand that the houses are meant for people here and we need to attend to that first,” Makhura said at the meeting.

“It is our duty as the leadership to communicate and speak to them and make them understand. We will continue to liaise with them regarding this.”

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However, Olievenhoutbosch residents, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told the Pretoria News they knew many people who did not qualify to have RDP houses had invaded the houses in Extension 27 and had to be moved.

They said following a meeting with local councillors, Makhura and other stakeholders, it was agreed that verification would have to be conducted and those illegally occupying the houses removed.

A resident said many young people and foreign nationals were occupying the houses illegally and should be evicted.

However, they said that once those people were moved out, the only residents the community would accept were those from Olievenhoutbosch, including current backyard dwellers and the elderly.

The residents threatened that they would not accept people who were not from the area at the expense of locals who had been on the housing waiting list for more than 15 years.

“If they want to see a war or another massacre of Marikana proportions, let them try to put people from other settlements into this area. They will be picking up bodies here one by one every single day,” a resident told the Pretoria News.

Another resident added: “If they try to put people from other areas into these houses, the ANC must know they would have lost all support in Olievenhoutbosch. We’ve been disciplined members for a long time, but that will prove they don’t care for us.”

Pretoria News