MKMVA members line up outside Luthuli House in this file picture. Picture: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

PIETERMARITZBURG - Members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) in the Moses Mabhida region (Pietermaritzburg) have invaded housing units meant for rental, saying they have grown impatient with promises of housing from government officials for former combatants.  

The veterans, part of the structures of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), forced their way into empty flats in the Aloe Ridge Housing Project in the Westgate suburb on Sunday and were adament that they would that they would not be forced out.

Regional MKMVA secretary Menzi Mkhize said they had grown tired of waiting for houses and other services from government. "In 2015, we marched to city hall to demand that we get houses and other forms of assistance and we have been waiting ever since. In Msunduzi Municipality there is not even a desk that deals with matters related to veterans which is an illustration of the low regard for us," said Mkhize.

He told the African News Agency (ANA) that while MK members had occupied the flats there were veterans from other army former military wings, including the Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla), who were also struggling.

"There are also members of self defence units and other members from the community who do not have houses," Mkhize added. 

He said they were aware that the occupied flats were for renting, insisting that they would pay for services such as water and electricity, as well as rent. 

"While we are willing to pay, authorities need to be mindful that as veterans we do not have a lot of money and therefore the municipality must be reasonable when dealing with us," said the regional secretary.

Police officers were seen in the area but there were no incidents reported. 

The project was officially opened by former president Jacob Zuma in April last year and is one of the largest in the country, comprising of 952 housing units that offer rental accommodation.

African News Agency/ANA