Angry Lerato Park residents have labelled the structure a “community prison” and a “pigsty” and say that it is a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.
CITY residents have accused the Northern Cape provincial government of “blatant disrespect” for its citizens after learning of the existence of a “Covid-19 shelter for the poor” that was erected at the entrance of Lerato Park.
The residents have labelled the structure “a community prison” and a “pigsty”, which they say is “meant to suffocate helpless people who are already expected to be suffering from shortness of breath due to Covid-19”.
The residents demanded clarity from the government as to what exactly the structure is, how much was spent on it and how many people are expected to be housed in it.
The structure, which has been stationed in the area for about a month, has only two small windows and a door in the front for ventilation. It will be used as a temporary isolation structure for poor and overcrowded families.
The walls, as well as the flat roof, are reportedly made of hardboard and plastered with cement.
A voice note, purportedly by the ward 30 councillor, has been circulating this week, encouraging residents to fill in an application form if they want to be placed in the structure.
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said that the structure was part of a programme sponsored by the Northern Cape Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta).
“It is for temporary residential units for overcrowded families as part of the Covid-19 densification programme in areas of Lerato Park 200, Lethabo Park 167, Marikana/Waterloo 167 and Riemvasmaak /Golf Course 167 areas in the Sol Plaatje municipal area,’ Matsie explained.
“We are just providing the necessary beneficiaries of these areas,” added Matsie.
Coghsta spokesperson Babalwa Mzambo said she will respond to media enquiries on Thursday when she returns to Kimberley.
Mzambo did not have any knowledge about the structure, and added that she was currently experiencing network problems.
Local residents have meanwhile lashed out on social media and accused the Northern Cape provincial government of using “cheap electioneering tactics to score votes”.
They were angered by the poor quality of the structure and the apparent lack of training received by the workers on the project.
A member of the Sol Plaatje Service Delivery Forum slammed the provincial government and the local municipality for “displaying blatant disrespect to its residents”.
He challenged Premier Zamani Saul and the executive mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality, Patrick Mabilo, to move into the structure.
“What nonsense is this, this is blatant disrespect to the residents of Sol Plaatje, are we regarded as animals by this administration?
“What is wrong with this municipality and the provincial government?
“Is it a coincidence that money from the Treasury got released only now during election season?
“Why not focus on a sewerage system and electricity instead of showing residents the middle finger.
“Dr Zamani Saul, is this the modern Province you were referring to?
“We have to ask ourselves, how much did each of these houses cost? Is this another way of wasting taxpayers’ money?”