SPM spokesperson could not yet confirm when the move would take place or how long it would take to address the issues of flooding in Homevalley

MOVE: The piece of land which the municipality plans to move the shacks. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE PLANNED relocation of shacks from the Homevalley informal settlement in Kimberley has left shack dwellers in the dark and homeowners hot under the collar.

The Sol Plaatje Municipality (SPM) yesterday confirmed that about ten shacks from the Homevally informal settlement in Third Street, Homevale, would be temporarily relocated to an open piece of land in Lorray Street, Homevale, in an attempt to address issues regarding storm water flooding that affected the shacks involved.

The piece of land has already been flattened by municipal bulldozers in anticipation of the relocation, but SPM spokesperson, Sello Matsie, could not yet confirm when the move would take place or how long it would take to address the issues of flooding in Homevalley.

Shack owners were yesterday in the dark about the details regarding the relocation and only stated that they had been informed by the SPM that certain shacks, that were constructed in a flood zone, would be temporarily relocated to the new land while storm water drainage systems would be constructed.

One shack owner, Franko Fredericks, said he was still awaiting details regarding the move and added that only shacks severely affected by flooding would be moved. He did add that flooding after heavy rain “filled shacks knee-deep in water”.

Another shack owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was concerned about losing her plot of land while being relocated.

“Homevally has been earmarked for the construction of houses and I am scared that someone will steal my plot of land and the house to be constructed on it while I am not there,” she said.

Meanwhile, home owners in Lorray Street has expressed their unhappiness about the planned move, saying the construction of shacks on their doorstep would bring “huge problems”, including increased crime while also placing the shack dwellers’ lives in danger.

“While the SPM has indicated that it would only be a temporary move, we know that those shacks will be here to stay and mushroom into an even bigger informal settlement. We are concerned about unwanted elements, like drug dealers and criminals moving into our neighourhood and influencing our children,” Kathy Kock said.

She added that the piece of land would also place shack dwellers’ live in danger, as it is situation right next to the busy Barkly Road, a notorious high accident zone. She also raised concern about a drop in the value of properties which would now be adjacent to a informal settlement.

“We want to know where these people will get water and sanitation services, as we would definitely not be opening our homes to them or supply them with water, as these are services we pay for. This is a nightmare waiting to happen but it seems as if our hands are tied as no-one gave heed to our concerns or even conducted any consultations with affected homeowners,” Kock added.

She concluded by saying that the open piece of land also has a flooding problem and “resembles a dam”.

In Homevalley, shack owners were well aware that “the people (in Lorray Street) does not want us there”.