Angry residents of Gugulethu disrupted a stakeholder meeting after law enforcement agencies dismantled their homes near NY112 on land owned by businessman Peter Motale.

The residents had been attempting to occupy the land since February.

An angry Ntombekhaya Solani said she and many others took out loans to buy the material used to build the houses dismantled on Thursday afternoon.

“We took out loans to buy material, which has now been taken by law enforcement. We are now occupying Luyolo community hall, where the ward councillor’s office is.... And we are not moving, and we have stopped all services from the hall. We will not leave until we are heard,” she said.

Loyiso Nkhola, a member of the Ses’khona Peoples Rights Movement, said: “Gugulethu is underdeveloped and many other areas in the City are being prioritised, like Khayelitsha. Community members are just hoping that the minister will not make promises but rather show her commitment to getting the people land for houses.”

Tempers flared at a meeting at Gugulethu Sports Centre as Human Settlements Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo, speaking to about 500 people, attempted to address the issue of outstanding title deeds.

“We are not here to listen to you tell us about title deeds, our homes have been demolished,” people shouted.

In response, Mfeketo told the gathering 580 families would benefit from a development on site 4884 near Fezeka High School. This number of families would be accommodated if single-storey houses were built, but more if multi-storey dwellings were built.

“This is to begin by the end of August,” said Mfeketo. “There are also 21 other parcels of land in Gugulethu, some owned by government and others privately-owned. The government is in the process of acquiring the balance of the parcels so houses can be built as well as other amenities in the area.”

About 20 residents walked out of the meeting, rejecting Mfeketo’s plans and responses to their demands.

Mfeketo told the meeting many Gugulethu residents had refused to accept their title deeds as they wanted the government to renovate their houses. Some had been unable to take ownership of houses because of the large number of people in their families.

She added places such as the abandoned Conradie Hospital would be renovated to accommodate people closer to where they worked. “Stop focusing only on Gugulethu, there are many of you who are employed and can take up those opportunities. If communities say they are interested in those developments, I will come back and discuss the planning.”

Deputy Minister Zou Kota-Fredericks called on the province to set up an implementation protocol, involving all spheres of government, to draft a way forward for the backyarders of Gugulethu.

Thando Mguli, head of the provincial human settlements department, said: “We have a clear plan for Gugulethu. Various sites in the area which are owned by the City will be used to build houses and the land that is not owned by us, we will negotiate with the landowners to buy that land so more houses can be built for the backyarders.” Gugulethu would also benefit from the Southern Corridor project, which aims to deliver 51000 houses.

Weekend Argus