City hous­ing cri­sis grows

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - By LINDANI DONYELI AND SUE MACLEN­NAN

Set­tlers from the newly es­tab­lished Nkanini in­for­mal set­tle­ment north of May­field have de­manded wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and san­i­ta­tion from Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Chair­per­son of the In­fra­struc­ture and En­gi­neer­ing port­fo­lio com­mit­tee Mab­huti Matyumza told Gro­cott’s Mail a del­e­ga­tion had come to the City Hall this week, re­quest­ing ser­vices.

In June 2017, peo­ple flocked to the veld ad­ja­cent to houses in May­field and Tran­sit camp where a self ap­pointed com­mit­tee al­lo­cated them plots. Sturctures have mush­roomed with more than a thou­sand now scat­tered across the com­mon­age. The area is known as Nkanini. More here: Gro­clan­grab Nkanini’s western bor­der is me­tres away from the ex­panse where Phase 2 of the May­field hous­ing should stand by now. Sewage and wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture for the de­vel­op­ment put in more than two years ago is now dam­aged by weather and van­dal­ism.

This month, Gro­cott’s Mail has re­ported on land grabs that started on 31 July on land ad­ja­cent to Vukani, on the south-west edge of the city.

With Makana Mu­nic­i­pal­ity hav­ing re­cently lost their bid to in­ter­dict set­tle­ment at Nkanini and more land be­ing rapidly an­nexed near Vukani, they are al­ready on the back foot when it comes to deal­ing with a grow­ing cri­sis in in­for­mal hous­ing.

In his open­ing ad­dress at yes­ter­day’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing, Matyumza said of the set­tlers’ de­mands for ser­vices, “It is their con­sti­tu­tional right – but it’s an un­funded man­date be­cause it’s an un­planned de­vel­op­ment,” he told coun­cil­lors and of­fi­cials. “We don’t have the ca­pac­ity to ser­vice those needs.”

While up­grades to in­crease the wa­ter sup­ply were un­der way, de­mand mean­while far out­stripped sup­ply, re­sult­ing in fre­quent and pro­longed wa­ter out­ages. Re­ports in the com­mit­tee agenda con­tain full up­dates on all the in­fra­struc­ture up­grades un­der way in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

On Tues­day Gro­cott’s Mail vis­ited enkanini. Young and old were car­ry­ing roof poles, push­ing wheel­bar­rows loaded with cor­ru­gated iron. A bakkie loaded with fenc­ing and build­ing ma­te­ri­als was be­ing off­loaded.

Nails were be­ing ham­mered at the front of one house, while at the back, some were dig­ging a pit toi­let.

There and at the new Vukani set­tle­ment, their ma­jor con­cern is to get elec­tric­ity and wa­ter. “We have ap­plied for RDP houses,” a group of Vukani set­tlers told Gro­cott’s Mail. “Many times. We never got houses.”

Some said they had put their names on the list at the hous­ing depart­ment long time ago. But in­stead of them get­ting houses, they saw young peo­ple tak­ing own­er­ship, who didn’t even live there.

For­mer Mayor Za­mux­olo Peter ac­knowl­edged cor­rup­tion in the al­lo­ca­tion of RDP hous­ing in Makana at the time May­field Phase 1 was near­ing com­ple­tion.

Makana re­cently lost a court bid to in­ter­dict set­tle­ment at the enkanini site.

Spokesper­son Yoliswa Ramokolo said, “We took the mat­ter to court and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity lost. We will study the judg­ment to see on what ba­sis they’ve made this rul­ing and see if we have grounds for ap­peal.”

Pub­lic ser­vice watch­dog PSAM says all res­i­dents have the right to clean wa­ter, hous­ing and a healthy en­vi­ron­ment.

Re­searcher Zuk­iswa Kota said, “While the PSAM ac­knowl­edges the dy­namic na­ture of hu­man set­tle­ments and con­se­quent de­mands for hous­ing, there can be no ex­cuse for poor plan­ning that re­sults in the in­fringe­ment of fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights.”

Kota said all res­i­dents have, un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion, the right to ac­cess clean wa­ter and hous­ing (Sec­tion 27), a healthy en­vi­ron­ment (Sec­tion 24).

Photo: Lindani Donyeli

A tem­po­rary struc­ture built in enkanini opoposite Ex­ten­sion 10. A fence has been put in the door­way - maybe so that an­i­mals don’t en­ter.

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