Standoff over relocation­s

Backyard dwellers want to get serviced stands first

- By Bongani Nkosi ■

A row over stands threatens to block plans by the Tshwane metro to eradicate informal dwellings in Brazzavill­e, west of Pretoria.

Backyard dwellers from neighbouri­ng Atteridgev­ille and Lotus Gardens are against the allocation of serviced stands to squatter camp residents.

A burnt bus stood near the serviced stands in extension 19, Atteridgev­ille, as an indication of the unrest that ensued over the plan.

The municipali­ty has developed 900 serviced stands in the extension. The stands have toilets already, and electricit­y and water would be installed once families from Brazzavill­e relocate their shacks there.

But the backyard dwellers are up in arms, saying the stands should be allocated to them.

“As the people of Atteridgev­ille and Lotus Gardens, we feel we are being isolated in terms of relocation­s. They are prioritisi­ng the informal settlement­s,” said Ray Henning, 40, a backyard dweller

“The informal settlement­s only came here a couple of years ago, while the people of Atteridgev­ille and Lotus Gardens have been staying here since 1935,” Henning said.

Asked to estimate the number of backyard dwellers in the area, Henning said: “We are a lot. We can fill up Super Stadium. Bear in mind, one yard has about four rooms.”

Aaron Modiba, 60, said he was frustrated by the prospect of not getting a piece of land.

“I’ll be very disappoint­ed. As you can see, I’m very old and I’ve been staying in Atteridgev­ille since I was born.”

Modiba said he applied for an RDP house in 1996 but he never received it. “I’m frustrated because I’m staying with my kids, my wife and my grandkids at my mother’s two-bedroom house.”

Henning and Modiba were part of the community leaders meeting with Mandla Nkomo, Tshwane’s MMC for housing.

A stalemate was reached, with the backyard dwellers refusing to back down.

Nkomo said the resolution to allocate the stands to Brazzavill­e was taken by the previous ANC-led council.

He asked the backyard dwellers to allow phase one of the relocation to unfold. He vowed that the second phase, which would roll out hundreds of serviced stands, would include them.

“I’m taking decisions that will be fair to everyone,” he said.

Nkomo added that the DArun Tshwane planned to provide serviced stands, a project started by the ANC to deal with the housing backlog.

“In most protests, [what] people actually need [is] services. These are water, sanitation and electricit­y,” he said.

 ?? / BONGANI NKOSI ?? Two buses were torched in the Atteridgev­ille protests.
/ BONGANI NKOSI Two buses were torched in the Atteridgev­ille protests.

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