The Gauteng Provincial Government has advised that it finds it rather bizarre that City of Johannesburg (CoJ) Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba is throwing the blame at them for the delayed outcome to the Plot 323 housing debacle in Ruimsig.
Dr Bongani Elias Sithole, the head of Gauteng Provincial Disaster Management Centre, told Northsider that the Centre has been working closely with the CoJ’s Housing Department to resolve the issue, and finds it strange that they are being blamed for the issues.
Read more: Gloomy outcome to Plot 323 housing problem
“We were informed by the CoJ officials that they are busy with the process of finding alternative land. It is now strange that they are blaming the Province for the problem,” said Sithole.
Sithole added, “We would appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in finding alternative land, so that we can assist the community on Plot 323. The people were living on the streets, and as a caring government, we could not ignore their plight, so we relocated them to Plot 323.”
The people were moved to the plot after being evicted from a nearby farm earlier this year, and have endured many hardships on the plot, including the death of an infant due to the severe weather conditions experienced.
In an interview with Northsider, Mashaba explained the constraints preventing the inhabitants from building on the plot, an idea which was suggested by the dwellers themselves. “From what I hear from Councillor Leah Knott, the area [the plot] cannot be declared as a residential or township area, so the City needs to find alternative accommodation for them,” said Mashaba, adding that provincial government will have to provide the funds for the necessary services.
Sithole explained that the issue affects both spheres of government (local and provincial). He said, “The Executive Mayor must work with us, in a joint effort to deal with the matter. The Provincial Government provided temporary shelters in the form of the tents. The COJ must now assist with the permanent relocation of the people.”
When asked about the monitoring of services rendered to the displaced inhabitants, Sithole said, “We are monitoring our services, especially the tents, and COJ provides water, sanitation and other services.”
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