Siyabonga Kalipa – West Cape News
18 September 2009
Backyarders living in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha, are accusing Housing MEC, Bonginkosi Madikizela, of lying to them and raising false hopes over house allocation in the area, following a meeting held Wednesday. The backyarders claim that at a meeting in August this year Madikizela promised they would receive 23 of the 57 state-subsidised houses, and that the MEC has now changed his tune, with only 15 of the houses to be allocated to them.
The meeting had been called in response to an incident in April in which the backyarders prevented then-MEC Whitey Jacobs from handing over keys to listed beneficiaries.
The backyarders were angry that priority had been given to people who, though on the housing waiting list, lived some two kilometres away in Site C and Gugulethu whereas they squatted behind houses immediately next door to the housing development. The 57 houses are the last of the 823 that provincial government set out to build in the area, an initiative called Mandela Park Housing Project 823.
After yesterday’s meeting that was attended by Madikizela, councillors from Mandela Park; Gugulethu; and Site C, and backyarders from the three areas, the backyarders emerged disgruntled, saying the MEC had gone against his word.
Loyiso Mfuku, a leader of the Mandela Park backyarders, said that at the meeting in August the MEC had led them to believe the responsibility was in their hands to draw up a list of criteria for who should be allocated the 23 houses.
“But in yesterday’s meeting with him he denied everything, saying he never promised us anything,” said Mfuku.
Mfuku said this comment had upset the group, and that Madikizela had reneged on all commitments he had made to the community.
“He is reversing all that he said to [us], saying he was misunderstood. He is playing with the people’s feelings,” Mfuku said.
Slulami Mzimkulu, another backyarders leader, said they had asked Madikizela to come back to the community and break the news to them, but that he refused.
Madikizela said the Mandela Park backyarders had a culture of entitlement, and believed that living in the area entitled them to benefit from the houses.
He said when the meeting had been held in August, the department’s consultancy firm that oversees the allocation of houses to beneficiaries on the waiting list had yet to locate 23 of them. As it stands, 15 beneficiaries remain to be located. The only commitment that was made to the backyarders, he said, was that if people on the list could not be found, they could draw up a list of criteria for beneficiaries among the community. He said the backyarders had gone ahead with the process themselves instead of following correct procedure. – West Cape News