update


Metro justifies its R34-m fruitless temporary housing project

Since the project was halted, thieves and vandals have reduced the prefabricated houses to skeleton structures.

Despite all the criticisms received, the Ekurhuleni metro still insists that its decision to spend more than R34-million of taxpayers’ money on the temporary housing project to relocate residents of Angelo informal settlement was rational.

The municipality’s human settlement department metro spent R12.1-m to buy the piece of land deemed unsafe and dangerous for the establishment of a township in Marlands Extension Five, in Germiston, to accommodate the residents.

A further R22-m was spent on building the structures to accommodate the residents.

As a result of the metro’s apparent failure to follow the right procedure and the fact that the land they bought is deemed dangerous and unsuitable for human habitation, residents and opposition parties objected to the project and the beneficiaries also refused to move in.

This resulted in the whole project being stalled. At that time, the metro had already completed 501 of the total 538 structures, while the rest were being finalised.

The property was eventually left unattended and this resulted in vandals taking advantage of the situation and started to help themselves to the structures, vandalising and stealing everything.

They stole the steel walls, roofing sheets, doors and window frames, reducing the property to merely steel frames.

The metro acknowledges its failure to secure the property against thieves and vandals after the process of allocating the structures to the intended community of Angelo was halted.

Justifying its reason for leaving the property unsecured and prone to vandals and thieves, the metro said its human settlement department initially hired a security company to secure the property, but it eventually ran out of funds to pay the security provider, and the contract was subsequently terminated.

“The metro thus embarked on a provision of security to secure the property while the Court matters are resolved. Unfortunately, funds got depleted in this regard and the city opted for periodic monitoring by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD),” said the metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe.

To secure the remaining frames against theft, council said various options are being explored and these options entail ongoing patrols by the EMPD.

  • Approved

“The municipality’s plan has always been to use the property for residential purposes. The previous owner had lodged the application with city planning for township establishment, which was approved by Tribunal in May 2017,” said Gadebe.

“The court judgment against the illegal occupation of the Angelo Hotel informal settlement ordered the city to secure alternative accommodation for the residents.

“The National Housing Code also enjoins the metro to provide Emergency Housing Assistance whenever communities are facing, among other, Court Eviction processes,” said Gadebe.

When asked as to why the municipality refused to follow the advice against procuring the piece of land as it is deemed dangerous and unsuitable for human habitation, Gadebe said, “Whenever the metro procures land for residential purposes it undertakes a due diligence to assess the suitability of such land for residential development.

“It is only pockets of the land in question which were deemed not suitable for residential development and such do not form part of the proposed residential.

“As indicated, the matter was placed before the City Planning Tribunal and the township was approved for residential development.” [email protected]

ALSO READ: Ward councillor calls ‘stripped’ temporal accommodation a waste of taxpayer’s money

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  AUTHOR
Fanie Mthupha
Journalist

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