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By Canaan Mdletshe | Jun 17, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

WHEN homeless people were moved from shacks and tin houses in Lamontville to newly built double-storey structures in the township, they thought their housing problems were finally over.

But it was not to be. The joy of the 65 families who were moved to the new homes between Friday and Sunday last week was shortlived.

They discovered that the houses they were moved to were incomplete and too small even to accommodate a double bed.

The houses had also not been plastered, had no ceilings, no electricity or running water.

When Sowetan visited the area yesterday, the new occupants were battling to fit in their belongings such as beds and wardrobes into the houses.

"I wish I had stayed in my tin house. We had no electricity or clean running water, but we were used to that kind of a life.

"Why does the municipality make so much noise about housing us in better homes if this is the kind of life we have to live?

"I had to break down some parts of the wall to make enough space to bring in a bed," complained Zanele Ndlovu.

"The new house has no running water, so we can't flush the toilet and I have to go to relatives' houses if I want to relieve myself," she added.

But Nigel Gumede, the chairperson of the housing department in eThekwini municipality, downplayed the complaints.

He said the houses had water and in cases where there was none, pipes had been installed to help people access water while waiting for the taps to be fitted in.

"We moved people there because of the mounting pressure from people who wanted to illegally occupy the houses.

"We were forced to react the way we did.

"People must appreciate that we acted this way for their own benefit because had we delayed the move, the houses would have been taken over by others," said Gumede.

Gumede also defended the fact that the houses have no electricity.

"That's because each occupant must apply for electricity and water and this takes time."

Meanwhile, three community leaders who led residents in a protest against service delivery in the area will appear in court on Friday on charges of public violence.


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