Nellmapius homes will finally be electrified, by Tshwane
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Pretoria - Mamelodi beneficiaries of RDP houses, who have been fighting for their homes in Nellmapius Ext 22 to be electrified, say they are relieved after the City of Tshwane officially took over the project from the provincial government.
The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements finally handed over the stagnant housing project that has been idle, and which has caused frustration since 2016, to the City despite litigation from the contractor who blamed the government for administrative delays that frustrated the process and led to residents relying on other forms of energy for cooking and lighting.
Pretty Mashifane represented residents in intervention meetings when the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo, went there last month. Mamabolo rushed to Mamelodi to defuse a potential war between the frustrated beneficiaries and taxi operators who clashed with the residents for blocking Solomon Mahlangu Drive for three days as they protested the delay in service delivery.
The protests also disrupted construction work to revamp the busy road and caused frustration among residents and the City of Tshwane, which said it could not do much to assist as the project was still in the hands of the provincial government.
Mashifane told the Pretoria News yesterday that residents were overjoyed because they had waited and fought over the matter for many years and now finally some work is expected to be done.
She said it was frustrating to see people’s homes catch alight in winter because of their reliance on kettles and paraffin stoves to cook and boil water. “We are extremely happy as residents because living like this is just not right. This place is so dark at night.
“Our people were tired of the waiting, we could not take it any more. Living in Gauteng as if we are in an isolated rural area cannot be right. We will sing and dance when the construction site is set up.”
Mamabolo said the community leaders, the City and the Department of Human Settlement came to an agreement that the actual electrification be divided into phases, starting in October and to be completed by May 22.
He said: “We are urging communities to refrain from provoking reaction, particularly from motorists, the taxi industry, in which case in Nellmapius it is alleged that the taxi industry fired gunshots at community members.
“As the provincial government of Gauteng we have platforms and structure such as the Nthirisano programme, which we have institutionalised, which is an outreach programme working with communities to solve their problems.
“They can approach us as the government through our Nthirisano programme to resolve issues peacefully.
“We are very concerned that the blocking of roads is going to provoke an action that can lead to people taking the law into their own hands.”
Mamabolo called on the taxi industry to respect the law of the country and never to take the law into their own hands. He said the police should also ensure that they did not allow communities to block roads.
City Chief of Staff Jordan Griffiths confirmed that after extensive intergovernmental engagements, the provincial government had formally handed over the project to the City.
He said: “We have established contractors for the site and they will be going there on Wednesday to conduct site establishment and engage in the relevant labour processes and recruitment of the local community such as the Expanded Public Works Programme in order to take this project forward and thereafter begin with electrification.”
Griffiths said this was good news for the residents of Nellmapius Ext 22.