The municipality has lambasted claims by Rankie Square residents in Phelindaba that the Ward 13 Councillor, Nozimanga Matetha, is forcefully moving people out of the area.
Municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, said that Rankie Square is not habitable, the area is too rocky and developing it will be too costly for the municipality.
“The municipality requested the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to assist with the development of the Informal Settlements’ upgrading strategy and resettlement plan in all our informal settlement areas. The HDA had to conduct a study that will guide the development or relocation in all 28 informal settlements within Mangaung, and it has identified eight informal settlements that need to be relocated due to various reasons, for example areas that are rocky, flood line areas, settling under power lines or because of servitudes. Rankie Square was one of the areas that was earmarked for relocation,” explained Khedama.
Residents who had agree to move to Turflaagte as part of the relocation, claimed they were chased away by residents already residing in that area, as they were also still waiting to be allocated sites. Residents feared for their lives as their safety was not guaranteed. However, the municipality refutes the allegations that their lives are in danger.
“The municipality managed to relocate about six residents from Rankie Square to Turflaagte and they are staying there peacefully. We will be issuing them with permission to occupy before the end of December 2017,” he added.
Khedama reiterated that the municipality was not evicting residents, but rather relocating them to a more habitable environment. “The ward councillor is not forcing anyone to relocate; we are not evicting the residents, we are relocating them to an area that is habitable and that can be developed. It is the mandate of the municipality to provide residents with suitable land where basic services will be provided and to ensure their safety,” he concluded.