Media: Backyarders hot

19 02 2009

19/02/2009 10:54 AM – (SA)
LINDA KABENI
Source: CityVision

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HUNDREDS of backyarders under the banner of the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) led by Mncedisi Twalo converged at Gugulethu Sport Complex to listen to MEC of Housing Whitey Jacobs about their plight on Sunday.

Before the meeting could be official, Twalo gave the attendees a highlight about an incident of the previous week where police allegedly harassed, assaulted and arrested ACE members including himself.

As Twalo subjected the MEC to a tongue lashing, Jacobs sat quietly listening.

He said about sixty old people were shot with rubber bullets and about nine are still nursing injuries in hospital. Hundreds lost their cell-phones, cash and clothes.

“We are pained by this ambush and we vow that our spirit and cause is not going to be deterred. We will continue to fight for houses and against all social ills,” said Twalo.

Jacobs did not reply to him directly but instead spoke on several issues that were on his agenda.

He first talked about Mandela Park housing project which is engulfed in a corruption scandal.

“People with title deeds are finding their houses occupied by other people.Some houses are vandalised and their condition is not up to standard,” he said.

“When we investigated the matter, we found an element of corruption. But we vowed that the project would not be halted, ” said Jacobs.

He said the fiasco was under investigation and there was a newly formed steering committee made up of four government officials based in Gugulethu from his department to interlink with the backyarders on developments of this particular project.

About the N2 Gateway Project and the Delft situation, Jacobs said Nyanga backyarders would soon be accommodated on a 50/50 basis with their counter-parts, the Gugulethu backyarders.

“I have spoken to the government contractor, Thubelitsha and they have agreed to this new development,” he said. Jacobs said the first people who would be the first repicients-of the allocation for this march-housing units would be the old citizens.

Twalo said he was impressed with Jacobs’s promises but warned that inaction would lead to more chaos.

As Jacobs was about to leave the hall one woman wanted an audience with him. She then told the MEC that should she not get a house she will kill herself.

“If by March I don’t have a house I will kill myself and this is not a joke,” said Winnie Speel.

“I am dead serious. It has been years I have been living in a backyard and I have now just about had enough,” she said

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