03 April 2019

On Monday, Alra Park and Snake
Park residents marched nine kilometres to the Nigel Magistrate’s Court to
deliver a memorandum of grievances addressed to the Gauteng Premier, the MEC
for Human Settlements, the Minister of Human Settlements, the Mayor of
Ekurhuleni, the Councillor for Nigel and the local town planner in Springs.

The marchers said they wanted
answers about an RDP project of 600 houses in Mackenzieville which has been put
on hold. The project began in 2014. About 200 houses are complete; 400 are near

Anger in the community led to a
violent housing protest on 22 March and the torching of the local satellite
police station.

A memorandum of demands from the
marchers was received and signed by a representative from the Department of
Justice. They demanded a round table discussion with the relevant authorities
within 14 days.

Golden Miles Bhudhu from the
Greater Nigel United Parliament and leader of the Socialist Revolutionary
Workers’ Party, which led the march, said, “In May 2017 we presented the
same document to the Public Protector with allegations of fraud,
misappropriation of funds, squandering and stealing from the poor. But nothing
came out of the Public Protector’s office.”

The protesters want to know when
residents will move into the RDP houses and to see a list of the beneficiaries.
They allege corruption in the allocation process.

According to some residents
unnamed persons seized keys for the RDP houses from a subcontractor’s

“All of a sudden people were
being given keys. Someone had seized them from the subcontractor. Some people
managed to open doors to RDP houses, but other people’s keys did not
work,” said Zill Rittles, a resident of Arla Park and a member of the
Greater Nigel United Parliament.

Residents who had managed to
occupy the houses were removed by police sent by the municipality. Some people
had spent a night inside the houses. A number of them were arrested. Rubber
bullets and teargas were fired.

Sarah Mokoena, from Snake Park,
said she and her family had occupied an RDP house last week. “The houses
are being vandalised and stripped by thieves. I thought it best to move into my
house to save it from thieves.”

Ward Councillor Wollaston
Labuschagne (DA) said the beneficiary list for the housing project had not been
made available to him by the department. He said that a new company had been
appointed to attend to “architectural issues”.

Thieves have stripped windows,
doors and frames from some houses.

Labuschagne said he was unaware
of corruption “as the relevant metro and provincial departments have not
investigated such allegations”.

“As far as I know all residents of Nigel have been given the opportunity to register. However, it seems the subsidy application process excluded certain community members. The subsidy application process is the responsibility of the Gauteng Human Settlements Department,” said Labuschagne.

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