The Executive Mayor, Councillor Peter Lobese during his briefing applauded the National Minister of Human Settlements, the Honourable Nomaindiya Mfeketo (MP), for her visit to Bitou Municipality. Her arrival in Bitou Municipality is expected to address the housing backlog in three communities namely Kurland, Qolweni and New Horizon this was prompted by the recent protest of Kurland, Qolweni and subsequently New Horizon. The Executive Mayor briefed the ministers on the demand of the communities, which was revolving around the issue of Human Settlement and Land settlement
During the briefing session, the Executive Mayor informed the minister of the process of acquiring land and the challenges attached to it. First, the land earmarked for housing in Kurland belongs to the Rural Development, hence the undertaking by the Deputy Minister of Rural Development Honorable Mcebisi Skwatsha to visit on the 12 July 2018. His visit will address the land required in that area.
Secondly the executive mayor also briefed the Minister with regards to the Ebenezer land that is also earmarked for housing development, but the challenge is that the land is privately owned. He also informed the ministers the municipality is in the process of negotiating with landowner a price that he does not agreed to based on the fact on government evaluation versus private evaluations. The mayor said as a last resort if the owner does not concede to the offer the municipality will have to invoke the expropriation of land without compensation. The minister in responding she thanked the municipality for the invite and mentioned that most of the issues raised in communities are not different from others. She also told the councilors present that the national allocation of funds to provinces makes it difficult for her as the minister to respond directly because she needs to operate through the other spheres. She said there was an emergency for Bitou given to respond to the recent shack fires.
The minister also informed the leadership that she is aware of the Rural Development piece of land in Kurland, she is in constant discussion with the Deputy Minister regarding the land. She also encourage municipality to start investing in their communities by appointing Community Development Workers who will be foot soldiers for the municipality on the ground so that they can advise when the community becomes restless on issues affecting them that could lead to potential protest.
The Executive Mayor took the Ministers on a site visit to Ref 562 to view the land that belongs to Rural Development and Reform with a view that land can be best suitable for building of new houses. He also took them to the affected area that was recently affected by fires, known as Zawa Zawa to see the fire damages. The site visit also covered a site visit to Qolweni informal settlement where shacks fires took place and where 169 top structures are to be built.
There was also community engagement meeting with communities to engage with the minister and the Executive Mayor. The issues raised in both communities were similar all were based on housing and land. The other issue in both communities was the criteria used when applying for a subsidy house. The Western Cape Provincial Minister for Human Settlement explained the criteria and process leading up to the awarding of a subsidy house. Although the responses given by all spheres of government will not make everyone happy due to government beauraucratic processes.
The government have noted with shock and disgust the conduct the landowner of Ebenezer for his behavior during this community engagement and level of incitement of the communities. Their conduct could also be contributing to protest due to them meddling with the process and whilst negotiation are underway with them. This is bluntly conflict of interest as a seller and still partake in activities involving you.
The National Minister of Human Settlement has request the provincial minister to send his officials today to come negotiate further with seller, the government is committed in buying the land given the and amicable settlement of the negotiations.
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Issued by Communications & Customer Care, Bitou Local Municipality
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fltr - National Minister of Human Settlements, the Honourable Nomaindiya Mfeketo (MP); Executive Mayor, Councillor Peter Lobese; Western Cape Provincial Minister for Human Settlement, the Honourable Bonginkosi Madikizela; Deputy Executive Mayor, Councillor Sandiso Gcabayi
View more pictures in the GaleryLast published 04 February 2019