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Temporary housing rented out by occupants for R1 000

The container-built units are rented out as owners left due to increased family members, lack of privacy and poor maintenance in TRA 5, Delft. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA).

The container-built units are rented out as owners left due to increased family members, lack of privacy and poor maintenance in TRA 5, Delft. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA).

Published May 8, 2022

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RESIDENTS growing tired of living in undesirable conditions in a temporary relocation area (TRA) in Delft have returned to their shacks and are renting out the one-room containers for as much as R1 000.

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MEC for Infrastructure Tertuis Simmers revealed that the two TRAs constructed under the N2 Gateway housing project in Delft were affected by a high number of illegal occupations.

Built between 2010 and 2013, the TRAs were meant to house people who were moved out of areas earmarked for construction, with the aim of registering them on the housing list. Simmers said that only 25 of more than 1 000 units were occupied legally in one of the TRAs.

“TRA 5 yields a total of 1 095 units of which 1 070 are still occupied by non-qualifying beneficiaries from various areas, including Langa, New

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Rest and Delft. Many of these TRAs have also been illegally occupied,” he said.

A community leader in the area, who asked to remain anonymous, said some of the residents had left to build shacks to accommodate their large families because they were fed up with the poor services from the department.

“(The department) removes you from your four-room shack in Joe Slovo to this one room container and you are stuck here forever. Yes, what is happening here is wrong, but people are also disappointed,” the leader said.

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The leader said the units were being rented out at an average of R1 000 per month.

A committee member of the second TRA, Amanda Mazula, said only a few of its 423 units were being occupied illegally.

She said while they made regular inspections of the units to ensure that the rightful owners or their relatives lived there, they couldn’t fault those who decided to leave.

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“We cannot blame these people because they have been placed there for a long time. Which TRAs has (the department) cleared and placed all the people in their houses? There is none. Even the Tsunami TRA just near us is a mess because of their carelessness and corruption,” she said.

She said they established a committee in March and called the department and the Housing Development Agency to meetings to no avail.

NoOrange Gwayi, 65, originally from Langa, who was moved to the TRA in Delft in 2018, said the conditions they were made to live under were not desirable.

“We also have children. My first born is 33 years old, another one is 25 and a grandchild is 18 years old. It is difficult to bath because I live with old children,” she said.

Her son, Athenkosi Gwayi, who looks after their neighbour’s disabled child, said the units were not wheelchair-friendly given how some had holes in the ground.

Athenkosi Gwayi has lamented the state of his family’s unit, which has a hole in the floor that makes it difficult to look after a neighbour’s disabled child. picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

The ANC’s Andile Lili criticised the practice of renting out TRAs or RDP houses, saying it created a cycle that was hard to break.

“I believe that people must be evicted in any illegal occupation. You might find that those people who are occupying illegally were given houses before.

“But because of this corrupt tendency in our country which is like cancer, everybody is doing as they wish.

“People need not be allowed to even sell these temporary houses. So many people get RDP houses and they sell them and go to make squatter camps somewhere and they are allowed and then come back to say the government is doing nothing,” he said.

Ndifuna Ukwazi’s Luyanda Mtanzeli said subjecting people to life in squalor in so called “temporary housing” was not sustainable.

“With the engagement I had with the community members and leaders in these areas, they say the same thing that they were told that it is a temporary solution, meanwhile the City is looking to build houses.

“But these people become permanent residents in these TRAs. The issues that residents face is that they are not allowed to extend their units and not allowed to make businesses – whether a spaza shop and so on. The family grows yet they are not allowed to extend,” he said.

He said there were no health services available near the TRAs and some people were not working and their children ended up dropping out of school due to transport costs.

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