THE City of Cape Town says a man who built a brick house in an informal settlement must tear it down because it is a safety hazard.
Though the city has no intention of demolishing any of the shacks in the West Beach informal settlement in Cape Town's Du Noon, they have given Dayi Mondreki, 48, until today to tear down his house or else they will demolish it.
Mondreki was lauded by his neighbours for building a better home for his four children after living for 11 years in a rickety shack.
But the city's anti-land invasion unit head Stephen Hayward confirmed that the city had served Mondreki with a notice to demolish his house.
"If a building collapses and kills someone and if that building did not comply with the health and safety regulations, the owner will be held responsible," Hayward said.
He said the land belonged to the city and as such people could not do anything without getting permission.
Hayward did not say why there was no problem with shacks that were on the city's land and which could also fall down and injure people.
The notice has not only enraged Mondreki but also his neighbours, who say their living conditions are bad. They were planning to emulate Mondreki by building brick houses on their own rather than waiting to receive RDP houses.
Mondreki's wife, Nobuntu, said five city officials stormed into their newly built brick house last week and demanded an explanation as to who had given them permission to build a brick house on the city's land.
She said they were then given seven days notice to demolish their new house.
Mondreki said he built his house with bricks he had salvaged from dumping sites.
"I only bought cement. We decided to build a brick house because it is winter and when it rains our shack floods," he said.
Beatrice Mtati, 46, said residents in the area had vowed at a meeting to defend Mondreki's house.
"Instead of improving our living conditions they want to make our lives difficult. We will also build brick houses because our living conditions are so bad," said Mtati.
She accused the city of gunning for a man who was trying to uplift himself, instead of doing its job and fixing the communal flush toilets that broke down in June and have since been emitting an "unbearable stench".
Dlamini Mdlalo, 58, who has lived in the informal settlement for 10 years, said by providing his family with a better home Mondreki had shown that he was a man.