Residents urge city to buy Siqalo land
Owner ready to sell property along Jakes Gerwel Drive
RESIDENTS of Siqalo informal settlement along Jakes Gerwel Drive outside Mitchells Plain marched to the mayor’s office yesterday, to hand over proof that the land they have been living on for more than five years is up for sale.
A few hundred residents took trains into the city centre and then marched to the Civic Centre.
The residents have been unable to receive basic services, such as water and sanitation, because the land they settled on is privately owned.
However, they brought two letters, one from the owner of the land and another from his lawyer, stating the land was up for sale.
The residents want the city to purchase the land in order to service it for habitation.
Resident Elliot Ndamase said they came to talk to the mayor because they had been overlooked for years. He said they lived in bad conditions because they did not have any services.
“The city has been saying they can’t buy the land because the owner says it’s not for sale, which is why they can’t give us services,” he said.
Ndamase said they became ill all the time because they did not have water and toilets in the area.
He said after residents found out the land was up for sale, they decided to march to see the mayor.
The march was peaceful, but residents warned that should they not receive a response by May 31, they would be back with more protesters.
Another resident, Nolufefe Mali, said they wanted the land because it was not used for anything and they were already living on it.
She said all they wanted was basic services because the portable toilets they were using were unhygienic.
The letter from the land owner, a company called Ross Demolition, read: “I, Robert Wiliam Ross, being the owner of the above-mentioned property, hereby confirm that I am prepared to sell my land as described above to any person or persons who may be interested in purchasing the land, whether Government or Private.”
The residents also carried a second letter on a letterhead signed by F Khan, Attorney at Law, which read: “Our client has instructed us to inform you that they are willing to sell the property to Government or any other interested party.”
Mayco member for human settlements Benedicta van Minnen said the matter was still before the court and there were a number of issues that would need to be examined. She said the city was not in a position to comment on issues arising from a court case. The owner of Ross Demolition could not be reached because he was out of the country.