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Tshwane on collision course with illegal occupants of RDP houses in Olievenhoutbosch

Illegally occupied RDP homes in Olievenhoutbosch extension 27. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Illegally occupied RDP homes in Olievenhoutbosch extension 27. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s new dispute resolution committee that is seeking to address grievances arising from ownership of RDP houses is likely to be put on a collision course with illegal occupants of government houses.

Among them are occupants of the new housing units in Olievenhoutbosch Extension 27 and 36.

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In 2017 about 2 000 people in Olievenhoutbosch illegally occupied the low-cost houses in Extension 27. Last year a housing project of 919 flats in the township’s extension 36 was also invaded by illegal occupiers.

For years the government’s effort to evict the illegal occupants yielded no results, despite the fact a court order for eviction was obtained. Attempts by the government to remove those who illegally occupied the houses were previously met with protests by residents.

Tshwane’s MMC for Human Settlements, Abel Tau, yesterday told the Pretoria News he was expecting more disputes over ownership of low cost houses to come from Olievenhoutbosch.

This followed the metro’s announcement that it formed a dispute resolution committee with a view to thoroughly address disputes stemming from low-cost residential houses.

The municipality said the committee was formed as a result of complaints regarding rights of occupancy and/or ownership from various beneficiaries.

“Olievenhoutbosch is definitely where I expect to see a lot of disputes. This will give people a platform on which we can be able to act on their behalf,” Tau said. He said there was a standing eviction order on the Olievenhoutbosch illegal occupants.

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“The reality is that people who have illegally occupied those houses committed a crime. The courts have agreed with us and we should be able to evict those people and give houses to rightful beneficiaries,” he said.

He expressed hope that aggrieved housing beneficiaries would come forward to lodge disputes over the illegal occupation of the houses, “so we can restore them to rightful beneficiaries, and we will be compelled to use our resources to do exactly that”.

According to him, there were between 16 and 20 disputes that had come through to the municipality.

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Tau said that in some instances disputes were brought by two siblings whose disagreement was about the rightful ownership of the property “because their parents are late and now there is a squabble”.

He said complainants could elevate their cases to a dispute resolution appeals committee chaired by the chairperson of the portfolio committee in cases where they were unhappy with the resolution outcomes.

“Our first case is the one in which the Public Protector has ordered us to restore the house to the rightful owner. It’s about a dispute where someone’s house was given to someone else. More like what you have down there in Olievenhoutbosch,” Tau said.

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He said those who wanted to complain about the poor workmanship done on their houses by contractors could also turn to the committee for assistance.

“This dispute resolution mechanism is a cost-effective tool to resolve disputes speedily for the beneficiaries of low cost housing, who are mostly indigent and cannot afford expensive court processes,” he said.

Beneficiaries with outstanding disputes were encouraged to contact their regional housing offices to submit their disputes for investigation.

“Should a dispute not be resolved at that level, it will be escalated to the committee for consideration and resolution,” Tau said.

Pretoria News

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