Protesting residents in Ward 46, between Phase 5 and Phase 6 in Mangaung, were told by their councillor that they would be moved to Vista Park and its surrounds, whether or not an informal settlement will devalue property in the area.
Ward 46 councillor, Hoes Ramabodu, said this on Friday afternoon as he addressed a small group of angry residents who were told that the municipality had issued an urgent court interdict to remove them from the land they were occupying illegally.
Ramabodu explained that the land and soil needed to be levelled first before residents could be placed there. He also sympathized with those who would now be left homeless as a result of the removals. He however, emphasised that there was a waiting list and that allowing residents to stay there informally was unfair to those who were on the waiting list.
“You people need to understand that the stands on this site have already been allocated. As it stands, there about 600 people on the waiting list that must come live here. On that basis, we will be moving some of you to sites in the Vista Park area as well as other identified sites for people who are on our waiting lists,” Ramabodu said.
He said often the challenge with such situations is that people do not realise how lengthy the process of applying for sites is, as people on the waiting lists must often first be verified before they can be allotted sites.
He also criticised the area’s former councillor, whom he learned gave the residents the initial instruction to erect their shack dwellings on the land site under mention.
“To an extent, I blame the former councillor because these people listened to him not knowing that he was providing them with false information. I also blame the community because I had spoken to them numerous times on the matter and even brought a law enforcement officer to explain the implications of living on this site,” he said. – Pulane Choane