Gauteng Premier David Makhura.   Jacques Naude  African News Agency (ANA)
Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng Premier David Makhura's SOPA under threat

By SAKHILE NDLAZI Time of article published Feb 25, 2020

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Pretoria - The organisers of Tuesday's march to Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, where Premier David Makhura is to deliver the 2020 State of the Province Address, said they would go ahead with the mass action.

This is despite being denied permission by the Tshwane Metro Police Department.

Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, spokesperson for the department, said the protest was not approved because the conveners did not meet all the requirements of the Regulations of Gatherings Act during their application.

“The 2019 Mamelodi flood survivors were sheltered in church and community halls after being affected by disastrous floods on December 9, 2019, and have still not been allocated land, hence the protest,” Mahamba said. Officers would be deployed to monitor it.

The group - among them displaced flood victims, backroom dwellers, hostel residents and those on RDP housing waiting lists - vowed this would not deter them in any way. They said housing woes were spiralling out of control.

At the forefront are displaced flood victims from Eerste Fabrieke informal settlement, who lost their shacks in floods in December. They said Makhura had not delivered on the promise of land to rebuild their shacks.

They were living along a river bank when 700 shacks were swept away by the floods. The residents have been temporarily housed at the Mamelodi West Baptist Church.

Community leader Thulani Ndlovu accused both Makhura’s office and the Tshwane Metro Police Department of playing politics and refusing them permission to march to hand over a memorandum. “We are being sent from pillar to post; Metro Police said we must get someone to receive the memorandum, while the premier’s office said we must get permission from the Metro Police first. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s all games,” Ndlovu said.

They were going to protest. He said about 150 displaced flood residents were on board. “We are scheduled to arrive there (at the university) at around 9am.”

Ousted invaders of flats from Mamelodi East will join the protest. They also accused the provincial government of not prioritising housing problems in the area, causing corruption, invasion and chaos in the township.

Backyard dwellers also said members had for years been waiting for the allocation of RDP homes.

The Red Ants evicted about 100 backyard dwellers from the flats in Extension 5, which they had occupied unlawfully.

One of the leaders, Kgothatso Fenyani, said they were organising buses and taxis to “pay Makhura a visit”.

“We invaded the flats out of desperation. We have nowhere to live. Our family houses are packed with relatives. If the government focused more on giving houses and less on corruption we would be fine,” he said.

Angry hostel residents in Mamelodi West also accused the premier of neglecting them over the years.

They said hostels were built by the apartheid government to provide housing to the mostly male migrant workers. But over the years local residents had occupied them.

Tlhafila Magodielo, who has been living there for seven years, said they had been promised numerous times that the dilapidated hostels would be refurbished.

The chairperson of the Mamelodi Concerned Residents group, Oupa Mtshweni, has said that in terms of current national housing policy, the structures must be upgraded to improve living conditions and meet the housing needs of the poor. Visits to the provincial human settlements department and the Gauteng legislature had proved fruitless.

“There are thousands of people from outside the country who are squatting here. We’ve got to find a way of dealing with this issue without creating xenophobia,” said a resident from Eerste Fabrieke.

Pretoria News

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