City of Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba, lambasted the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, for his lack of action on Mashaba’s request to conduct an audit in order to process undocumented persons in Zandspruit.
The informal settlement is undergoing various developments, which include a formal electrification programme. Mashaba expressed his dissatisfaction as he claimed his letter fell on deaf ears because Gigaba is seemingly more preoccupied with his ‘personal affairs’.
“During [the] engagement, I informed the residents of my letter to the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, regarding their request to have an audit of the community done so as to ensure that undocumented persons within the community are properly processed.
“To date, no response has been forthcoming. It would appear that the Minister is more preoccupied with his own private affairs than addressing the needs of residents and the country,” said Mashaba, adding that he will continue to attempt to engage the Minister on this point.
He made the criticism during his second visit to Zandspruit on Tuesday, 6 November, as he reported back on the plans for electrifying the area. His initial visit took place almost three weeks ago.
At that time, Mashaba, together with representatives from the Housing Department and Eskom, the two entities that were blamed for the delay on the electrification project, met with the community.
The matter was treated with urgency by the Mayor as he presented it to council and returned to the community with a draft report which contained information on an implementation plan for Zandspruit’s development.
As a way forward, Mashaba read out the following recommendations:
“· That the implementation plan for Zandspruit housing development as planned by the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality’s Department of Housing be noted;
· That the original Zandspruit occupants be the beneficiaries;
· That the allocation of beneficiaries residing within Zandspruit in the Zandspruit Extension 83 to 85 developments be approved and a list of the beneficiaries be made public as per Council resolutions;
· That the budget be made available during the next budget adjustment cycle;
· That Municipal Owned Enterprises be instructed to participate and provide support in the overall Zandspruit Development process;
· That the City of Johannesburg fast tracks Eskom towards achieving an agreement of electrification of Zandspruit informal settlement;
· That the urban boundaries report be brought to Council for consideration to help with decanting [the temporary relocation of residents]; and
· That a JMPD satellite station be set up to ensure and strengthen the safety of the residents and improve police visibility around the community of Zandspruit.”
Mashaba then went on to say, “On the issue of electricity, the previous administration failed to submit the necessary applications for the electrification of the township, and as a result, national government’s budget for electrifying the area was rolled over for a number of years.
“In September this year, however, we submitted the necessary applications to begin the process of providing electrification to the area,” Mashaba explained.
He concluded by saying the City will continue to work with all stakeholders in order to address the needs of the community and provide the dignity deserved by the residents of Zandspruit.
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