Housing promise 'empty'

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Hundreds of informal settlement residents protested outside the Gauteng department of housing offices in Johannesburg yesterday.

The enraged demonstrators from Princess Crossing on the West Rand said they wanted the government to build them low-cost houses and that they were "fed up with empty promises".

"We have been promised RDP houses since 1996 but nothing has been done," said community leader Sandiso Ndlovu.

He said they had been patient enough thinking the government would respond to their plight.

Ndlovu also complained about the lack of essential amenities in their settlement .

"We have no water, electricity and sanitation," he said.

"We use pit toilets and collect water from neighbouring areas."

He said residents used paraffin stoves to cook and candles for lighting which were a danger.

"Many people have died because of shack fires in our area and we demand the government build us proper houses now."

Ndlovu also said young children have to walk long distances to other areas as there were no schools.

The memorandum was accepted by the department's chief operations officer Mongezi Mnyani.

He promised the marchers the department would respond to their demands within seven days.

"We are willing to help but the land in question does not belong to the government; it is privately owned," Mnyani said.

"We are in negotiations with the owner to sell us the land."