Still no houses for Bethesda residents after 19 years of promises
NIEU-BETHESDA — On Wednesday, November 1, a group of disgruntled residents of Nieu-bethesda initiated a peaceful protest regarding the lack of delivery of low-cost houses.
According to Chairperson of the action group, Romano Davidson, residents have been waiting for 19 years for these houses to be built.
Their pleas to the previous Camdeboo Municipality and now the Beyers Naudé Municipality have fallen on deaf ears. Some indignant protesters believe that the money that was supposedly allocated for the building of these houses has been misappropriated.
The group of about 30 men and women began erecting structures on the piece of ground that has been purchased by the municipality for the development of these homes. Sophie Swarts said, “I have been waiting for a house for 19 years, and now I am fed up!”
Davidson said that affected residents had a meeting two weeks ago, and have given the municipality until November 8 to respond and at least discuss the issue with them. Should nothing happen, he fears that more radical protest action will have to take place as their questions are simply being ignored.
He claims that the new municipal manager has not met with concerned citizens to date. DA ward councillor Linda Botha says, “I fully understand the huge frustration and anger of the community (in Pienaarsig, Nieu-bethesda).
They have been promised and promised and promised for over 10 years by mayors, by municipal managers, by ward councillors and by the Department of Human Settlements that 250 houses would be built for them.
To date, nothing has happened. I have been working very hard on the RDP housing issue and some weeks back escalated the problem to senior management at the Department of Human Settlements who arranged with the MEC to settle the account for the EIA, WULA, archaeological and other studies that were done. The Municipal manager had to sign the addendum and this has now been done. Mr Ingram at DHS says that things should start moving soon.”
Davidson said that they have been told that the process has apparently been delayed as the land which the municipality has purchased has a problem with flooding. The councillor says that she knows nothing about this delay and is unsure as to what Romano Davidson’s source of information is.
He made a plea to the entire community of Nieu-bethesda to stand in unity with the people who have been promised houses as the need is dire. People are living in shacks in backyards of homeowners in inhumane conditions. Linda Botha conferred that one man lives with his disabled brother in a two-roomed construction with sand for a floor and no roof on one of the rooms. Another family of nine shares a threeroomed construction.
This group of people in Nieu-bethesda are simply wanting communication and solutions to a problem that has been ongoing for many years. The Municipal Manager was not available for comment at the time of going to press.