Tue Oct 25 01:42:27 SAST 2016
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

Complex political issues at play in the spat over planned evacuations from Jozi's derelict buildings

By unknown | Oct 09, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Nelson Khethani has lived at San Jose since moving to the City of Gold from Eastern Cape 10 years ago.

When he arrived, a generous friend said he could use the flat the friend was renting from a person who had illegally seized the building.

Khethani says his friend was paying rent to an "agency" that did not pay for municipal services.

"The municipality then cut all services because it was not getting any money. But now we are suffering for the sins other people committed."

Like almost every other resident, the self-employed muti hawker has not paid a cent in rent since he moved into his one-bedroom flat.

"I am one of the fortunate few who stay alone."

Most of the other small flats in the building accommodate 10 or more people, far more than the utilities were designed to handle.

Jerry Itumeleng, who stays in the nearby Monterey block, says his flat will soon be as rundown as its neighbours because the caretaker is not doing her job.

"She is busy selling units to people and she does not even own them," he said.

He expects the municipality to cut off their services because people have stopped paying.

Lone Poulsen, a professor of architecture at the University of Witwatersrand, says similar overcrowded conditions have blighted all the buildings the municipality now plans to evacuate.

The problems differ at every building affected by the city's clean-up campaign, but all the residents desperately need affordable accommodation, she says.

"In some instances the municipality is right to move the people because the building is unsuitable for habitation."

Poulsen says complex political issues are involved in the spat over planned evictions. Some critics ask why officials allow needy people to stay in derelict buildings, but equally valid, others demand that the city resettle these people.

She says municipal officials are damned whatever they do to clear these urban slums that are often so dilapidated residents lives are always at risk: "It's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place."


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT