Minister promises houses to Protea Glen residents

Residents evicted from their houses in Protea Glen, Soweto, will be relocated to free Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) houses in Doornkop outside Soweto from Monday, Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu said on Sunday.

Addressing a public meeting of more than 2 000 people in a bid to resolve the housing problem in the area, Sisulu apologised that the government could not do anything since the sheriff of the court had acted within the law when he evicted them.

Sisulu appealed to the residents to take the offer of the RDP houses. If they choose to fight the banks they should do so while in the new houses, she said.

Taking “the options that are provided would be the beginning of a dialogue”, she said.

The minister inspected the houses, directly after the meeting, to check if they were ready for occupation.

Ronnie Moalusi, a spokesperson for Thubelisha Homes, which built the houses, said the homes were ready for immediate occupation.

“The people can start moving into the houses [on Monday],” he said.

He added that about 600 families had already moved into houses built by Thubelisha in the area.

Moalusi said Sisulu would give him a list of names of the families who would be allocated houses.

One of the 11 evicted residents, Duke Ntsibande, who turned 33 on Monday, said he would take the offer and move into the house.

Sisulu said a common problem among the residents is in “the way housing management was done” in the area.
There are allegations that “shoddy” developers and estate agents are exploiting residents.

“We need people to come with names so that we can investigate,” she said.

Gauteng housing minister Nomvula Mokoyane, who also addressed the meeting, said mobile information units will be sent into the township to inform residents on how to deal with their housing problems.

Mokonyane said people will also have a chance to raise their complaints.

She urged all residents with housing problems to make use of the mobile units.

Sisulu also vowed she will meet with the banks to ask them to invest in low-cost housing but also needs people to understand the implications of signing housing bonds.

The minister added she has asked the banks not to evict people from their houses without informing her.

“We have created infrastructure and mechanisms to talk to [people] directly,” said Sisulu, adding there is no need to resort to violence in protest against housing problems.

Last week residents of Protea Glen demonstrated against the eviction of bond defaulters.

The march followed action by the sheriff, who—assisted by “red ant” security guards—removed residents and their belongings on Tuesday. The sheriff was acting on bank instructions.

More evictions were scheduled to take place on Thursday and Tuesday next week.—Sapa

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