The residents had refused to relocate to Ivory Park, despite an eviction order that was granted to Sol Plaatje Municipality
RESIDENTS who were supposed to be evicted from the King Senare Forestview shacks near Soul City in 2018 held a celebration braai on Freedom Day after they received erf allocation certificates and were promised that they would have access to electricity as soon as next month.
The residents refused to be relocated to Ivory Park despite an eviction order that was granted to Sol Plaatje Municipality in October 2019, which instructed that all unlawful occupiers in King Senare Street should vacate the land.
Community member Abel Sebeela stated that none of the 61 affected residents had moved to Ivory Park, where at the time residents complained that the site was too close to the railway line, was situated too far away from schools and that sewage spills posed a health hazard.
He added that Ivory Park and Lethabo Park were not suitable for relocation, as both areas were overpopulated.
Sebeela said that the municipality was in the process of installing power lines and electricity poles.
“Residents will pay for services and those who qualify will apply for indigent status. Water, sanitation and houses must be provided in the long run.”
He said they were still awaiting a ruling on an appeal against the eviction order that was heard in the Northern Cape High Court in 2019.
“In the meantime, we approached the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, the South African Human Rights Commission and the Premier’s Office for assistance. We provided evidence that we were registered on the housing needs register and had followed all processes to prove that we are the rightful land occupants.”
Sebeela believed that the eviction was politically motivated as he held “different political views”.
“Taxpayers’ money was wasted on the court order as the matter should have been settled out of court, while the lives of innocent people were disrupted in the process. The evicted persons who had the financial means had to provide R1,900 each so that we could appoint an advocate for the matter to be heard in the high court.
“However, I have no hard feelings because everything that happened is now in the past and we will be able to live in peace and harmony.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said that 61 beneficiaries were allocated the sites in King Senare.
“It was agreed, along with the Premier’s Office, not to evict the current occupants of these sites. We have submitted business plans to the Department of Cooperative Government, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs for the entire Soul City 112 project, which includes Forestview 48 and King Senare 61, for the provision of water and sanitation services and subsequently top structures (houses),” said Matsie.
He added that the electrification process was under way.
“The work was completed in Forestview and poles have been erected in King Senare for the electricity network.”