N2 Gateway Flats Residents Committee Press Statement
3 November 2009
We are in a crisis here. The HDA replaced Thubelisha, but still, nothing has changed.
As far as crime is concerned there remains many problems. This includes fraudulent activities of staff members who used to work for Thubelisha Homes but are now reporting to the Housing Development Agency (HDA).
One of the problems is that the lights in the corridors outside of our units are being stolen. No response to this has came from the HDA.
Also, on the 9th of October, a resident named Thabo was hijacked at gunpoint at 23h55 in the evening in his own parking area. The hijackers even stole his closes leaving him naked. What surprised us as residents is that Thabo stays very close to the entrance gate in full view of the Flats’ security guards. But guards claim not to have seen the incident. Thabo was not helped by the security guards with the company saying that the HDA is only paying them for access control and not to keep the Flats safe.
As the committee of the N2 Gateway Flats, we approached the senior security guard, Mr. Nobhatyi (073 878 6461) but only to find out that he had already tried to contact the N2 Gateway residents committee. Mr Nobhatyi told us that Bongani Bhele, the HDA caretaker of the N2 Gateway flats, prevented him from meeting with the residents. We also have evidence that Bongani is involved in a number of fraudulent activities here and therefore is trying to prevent residents and the security guards from working together.
We know that the underpaid security guards are not at fault. It is the corrupt people from the HDA who are preventing the security from being accountable to the community.
We have also approached the Langa Police seeking for their intervention. But as you know, they are always short of staff. We could not get much help…or should I say we could not get any help at all.
We approached the HDA directly because of various crime, fraud and mismanagement related issues.
We complained to the HDA about Bongani selling N2 Flats. We complained about people from outside the community being allowed in to kick the doors in and occupy many of the vacant flats. When confronted, these people told us that Bongani Bhele and someone named Eric asked them to pay a security deposit upfront. They claimed that Bongani and Eric would then disappear with the money leaving them without a flat.
The committee has helped one particular lady to write up an affidavit regarding this issue at the local police station. We have copies of her statement to show to anyone who is interested.
The HDA responded to our complaints by saying that there was nothing they could do because they ‘did not have a mandate’ to intervene. But it is their own people who are causing these problems!
We then approached the Housing MEC who came to meet with us on the 25th of October. Mr. Figlan, a member of Parliament, accompanied him. But the meeting was not fruitful. He told us that “there is not much we can do. We are tied up as far as the N2 Gateway Pilot Project is concerned”.
Then on the 31st of October in the early morning, a boy aged 19 was stabbed to death outside his own home while the security guards slept on.
Why must residents die? Who is next?
Why doesn’t the government come talk to us so that we can come up with a solution to the problems that they have caused?
Why does the government always say their hands are tied when they are the ones who created the problems in the first place?
The residents of the N2 Gateway Flats are very angry because the government and the HDA have tried to avoid each and every problem with their housing project.
First it was the contractors cutting corners and issuing us with keys that opened everyone else’s flats.
Then it was other problems of substandard housing and fraud. The auditor general found these problems. SCOPA found these problems. Even the Geneva based COHRE found these problems.
Now people are being attacked and even killed because the government refuses to work with us and solve the problems that they caused. The HDA is causing more problems and corruption. Its the same as Thubelisha Homes which preceded it. We didn’t need Thubelisha and we don’t need it the HDA.
Here is our call for government to finally intervene – meaningfully:
We, as the residents of the N2 Gateway Flats can manage our own community. We can create our own form of cooperative governance for our own community. And we can do it without corruption and mismanagement.
Contact the N2 Gateway Flats Committee for more information:
Luthando at 079 896 6126
Zongie at 082 438 9319
Nolundi at 073 229 2126