Home News Community members ‘repossess’ ghost shanties

Community members ‘repossess’ ghost shanties

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Lethabo Park community members have placed new housing beneficiaries in ghost shacks that they allege were given to girlfriends and family members of government officials.

Lethabo Park informal settlement in Roodepan. File picture: Danie van der Lith

NEW HOUSING beneficiaries have been allocated plots in the yards of ghost shanties in Lethabo Park, Roodepan after community members discovered that the erfs had allegedly been allocated to girlfriends and family members of state officials.

Community leader David Kok said on Thursday that they would be repossessing 174 vacant shanties.

“We have already found new places for 48 community members and will find placement for the remaining 126,” said Kok.

“The community initially wanted to demolish the shacks as they were being turned into criminal dens where drugs and stolen goods were stored. Instead of breaking down the structures, we decided to allocate the plots to registered beneficiaries whose names appear on the housing list. The criteria used was that they had to live in Roodepan.”

Kok explained that the new housing beneficiaries were staying in the yards to safeguard the vacant shacks.

Kok added that they were surprised to discover that the empty shacks had allegedly been allocated to girlfriends and family members of officials from the municipality and government, who do not even reside in the area.

“The community does not know the people who were allocated the plots. They have never parked their cars in the yards and have never slept inside the shanties.”

He stated that high-ranking officials had threatened the community members after their plots were repossessed.

“They handed out notices on Wednesday indicating that it was only the council that could decide who can be awarded plots. As far as we are concerned, civil servants do not qualify for informal settlement houses.”

He added that they had previously requested the plot owners to find tenants to occupy the shanties until the permanent structures were built.

Kok stated that 1,700 plots were allocated for housing, where the municipality was installing electricity infrastructure for 1,100 plots during the first phase.

“Since that time, a number of shacks have been vacant and it poses a threat of gangsterism and drug abuse. The community members who have moved onto the plots will remain there … they are not going anywhere.”

He believed that the community had followed all due processes, including informing the police.

“We engaged with the housing section and the councillor and provided them with the reference numbers.

“Since the municipality is not doing anything about this problem, we conducted our own investigations and discovered that 511 were ghost shacks.”

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie stated that the matter was receiving the necessary attention.

“Everything possible will be done to resolve the situation. We encourage anyone with evidence of wrongdoing to report it for investigation by the authorities,” said Matsie.

The chairperson of human settlement services at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Ronnie Morwe, added that he would investigate the allegations.

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