Corruption continues at the N2 Gateway Flats. Residents demand the closure of the HDA!

3 11 2009

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

Media: R241,5-million bill to close Gateway agent

21 09 2009
Source: Mail and Guardian

The National Department of Housing has guaranteed Thubelisha Homes, a technically insolvent government housing agent, R241,5-million to help it close down “on a voluntary basis”, a confidential letter leaked to the Mail & Guardian reveals. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: Duarte playing the pass-the-buck game with Gateway repairs

17 09 2009

September 16, 2009 Edition 1 – Cape Times

Referring to the remedial repair work which is needed in N2 Gateway Phase 1 flats, Thubelisha acting CEO John Duarte is reported to have said “the standing committee on public accounts failed to inform Thubelisha of the contents of the Auditor-General’s damning report”. (“Thubelisha must account to Parliament on Gateway”, September 14) Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion: The Western Cape housing crisis can be solved

13 08 2009

an emergency effort is needed

August 12, 2009 Edition 1
Martin Legassick – Cape Times

It is good news that Tokyo Sexwale and Helen Zille have decided to bury the hatchet on the petty squabbling between the ANC and DA (largely, let it be said, initiated by the ANC) over the N2 Gateway project and land allocation in the province.

The spat has hampered housing delivery in the province. We are now told “the three spheres of government are to sit around one table to decide on the future of the project.” (“Sexwale, Zille and city to decide on N2 Gateway,” August 10).

But Sexwale, Zille, Dan Plato and their officials would be making a big mistake if they believed the future could be settled without involving beneficiary communities, through their representative committees, at the decision-making table. Read the rest of this entry »

The inner-workings of government bureaucracy: Thubelisha Homes Closure Report

17 07 2009

Note: I may be quite interesting to see how these kinds of government commissions operate in relation to controversial projects such as the N2 Gateway.  There is a lot of discussion but the commission does not seem to know what is going on.  Neither does it have any idea what the truth is.  For instance: They ask many times whether there continues to be structural defects in Phase 1 and never get a clear answer.  But shouldn’t they go visit and inspect the flats for themselves rather than talk about theoretically in these kinds of bureaucratic meetings?  Also notice how Phase 1 flat tenants were not even invited to participate despite Thubelisha’s misleading claim that they were being consulted.  Enjoy this insight into how failed government projects are rationalised as inevitable…

Thubelisha Homes Closure Report, Joe Slovo Informal Settlement briefings, Management Committee appointment
Human Settlements
Date of Meeting: 8 Jul 2009
Chairperson: Ms B Dambuza (ANC)
Documents handed out: Thubelisha Homes Mandate Presentation Read the rest of this entry »

Report: The deficiency of reality in the Joe Slovo judgment

15 06 2009

Click here to read this article in a word document and here to read previous entries on the Joe Slovo settlement.

Kate Tissington
15 June 2009

The highest Court in South Africa has decided the fate of the 20 000 Joe Slovo informal settlement residents to be evicted to Delft to make way for the N2 Gateway housing project, in what is a disappointing and frustrating judgment that orders their eviction, albeit on the proviso that engagement occurs and that certain mitigating measures are undertaken.
Read the rest of this entry »

Gugs AEC meet with Housing MEC

27 01 2009
Gugulethu AEC Press Statement
Tuesday January 27, 2009

At noon earlier today, the Gugulethu AEC traveled in numbers to the offices of the Provincial Housing Department in town to meet with the MEC for Housing.

In our last public meeting with MEC for Housing, Mr Whitey Jacobs told our community that, for the past 15 years, there has been “no provincial housing plan for backyard dwellers in Cape Town”. After consulting with the communities of Gugulethu, Langa and Nyanga, Jacobs promised to meet our demands and come up with a strategic plan for backyarders in our communities that took our own views into account. As media from the Argus, Times, the Sun, the Daily Voice and the Sowetan witnessed, he further promised that if he did not come up with a plan that satisfied residents within 2 months, he would resign from office.

At the report-back meeting today, the Jacobs promised to come to the Gugulethu Sports Complex on Sunday the 15th of February at 14h00 for the AEC’s weekly mass meeting.

  • He also claimed that his department was taking management of the N2 Gateway Project and allocation of houses over from Thubelisha Homes because of mismanagement. This contradicts what his office told Delft-Symphony AEC last week.

  • He promised that Gugulethu backyard dwellers will be accommodated in the N2 Gateway as well as in projects in Khayelitsha.

  • The MEC futher stated that the land backyarders have attempted to occupy in Gugulethu (ELF# RR448 on Lansdowne Road) is owned by the City and is slated to be developed into housing for the backyard dwellers.

  • Finally, he had previously promised to come up with a plan to house backyard dwellers in Mowbray, Muizenberg and Constantia and promised to provide more details of the plan on 15 of February.

We look forward to participating in ironing out these plans with the MEC at our mass meeting. As backyard dwellers, we hope that this is not just another promise that politicians make just before elections. If he is unable to fulfill these promises, we expect him to honorably resign from his position.

For more information, contact Mncedisi at 078 580 8646 and Speelman at 073 9825 725