December 22 2008 at 10:40AM
Source: Cape Times
About 40 Delft families who were given formal houses “by mistake” after their temporary accommodation burnt down say they will defy any efforts to move them.
The families, including 35 small children, have been living in the Tsunami temporary relocation area (TRA) in Delft and were left homeless after their structures burnt down on November 27.
“We were stranded and with the children had nowhere to go. Some people went to stay with relatives while others occupied vacant units in the TRA.
We then tried all the channels we could to get assistance, including speaking to the ward councillor,” representative of the families Dumisani Stebe said.
He said the councillor failed to assist them, but the city later provided them with corrugated sheets, poles and plastic to erect shacks.
“Then on Sunday, December 13 a man called Thami from Sobambasani Construction (one of the companies building houses in the area) came here and said we must get ready to move as he has an order from the company to move us to houses.
“We were ready at 8am the next day and they came with trucks to help us move to the houses. It was while we were (being) given keys to the homes that the company’s manager came and said everything must be stopped because there has been a mistake.
“He said we should have been taken to TRA dwellings and not the formal houses. People were very upset because there is no way we’ll move from here. We’re going nowhere,” Stebe said.
He said the families were threatened with court action by Sobambasani Construction director Mandla Maxongo after police said they would not intervene.
Maxongo said he had apologised to the families.
“They were supposed to have been moved to accommodation in the TRA, but we misunderstood the instruction.”
He said the company discovered the error on the same day.
“It has been like a wrong delivery, but because they are human beings we (have) got to talk to them.”
He said while the families would be allowed to remain in the houses for the time being, court action would be considered if negotiations failed.
“We’ve had about five meetings with them. We are trying to resolve the matter with them, but at some point we’ve got to follow the rule of law and if it comes to that, the court will have to decide.
“We (are) trying to get them to understand that the houses belong to other people and they have to wait their turn and have to go and wait at the temporary units.
“Fortunately we have not had a situation where doors were broken down and things like that.”