Shack dwellers say they are sidelined

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Shack dwellers from Jack City, an informal settlement in Mandeni on Durban's North Coast, have accused their councillor, Mduduzi Ngema, of ganging up with Mandeni municipality speaker Zibuse Makhoba and preventing them from being housed.

They said years after being told they would be housed, they are still living in shacks.

A resident, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said they were promised houses about seven years ago.

"Promises were made, but broken," he said. "The current housing project should have been brought to us, but somehow Makhoba twisted Ngema's arm and it was taken away from us.

"People with better living conditions are getting houses and we are still stuck in shacks."

Ngema denied that shack dwellers were being sidelined. He said the present housing project was for rural housing, where they "smash a shack and build a house".

"It is for local residents. People build a shack next to their house and rent it. So now we remove the shack and build a proper house, and that's why some people are confused," Ngema said.

He said Jack City was not the only informal settlement with housing problems.

"We have more than three informal settlements that we have to develop," Ngema said. "But we don't own the land the shacks are built on.

"We have to negotiate for land before we can think of developing areas. I urge residents to attend meetings so they will understand what is happening."

Makhoba was not available for comment.