Controversial houses go up in Wesselton Ext 7

Msukaligwa Municipality working together with the Department of Human Settlement has begun building integrated decent low cost houses (RDPs) in Wesselton Ext 7.

This is the piece of land that has been the bone of contention between the municipality and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which saw the leaders of the party encourage members of the community to invade the land by force early in May.

There will be 126 houses for low income earners and 14 for military veterans.

The cost of one RDP house is R110 947 with the military veteran one R188 884.

The military veterans were selected and identified in consultation with the Department of Military Veterans.

According to the 2011 Military Veterans Act, a military veteran is any South African who rendered military service to any of the military organisations, former statutory and liberation armies which were involved on all sides of South Africa’s liberation war from 1960 to 1993 and served in the then Union Defence Force.

The low-cost house beneficiaries were selected from the housing waiting list through processes and criteria which include, among other, being a lawful resident in South Africa, 18 years of age or older and not previously having benefited from a state housing subsidy including spouse, The recipient must be a first-time owner of a property and must be in a household with a total household income less than R3 500 per month.

The list caters for women, men and different age groups from the youth to the elderly.

The EFF welcomed the move, saying it was time people of Wesselton received adequate housing. However, they insisted that the process of choosing beneficiaries be transparent and even suggested that the municipality should post the “waiting list” at the Department of Human Settlements so that the public would know who was on the list.

“I have applied many a time for housing.Am I even included in this so-called list?” asked EFF leader Mthunzi Yende.

Another EFF leader, Thabang Phoku, added that although the houses were welcomed, they were not enough for the masses of people without houses living in Wesselton.

He reiterated his party’s call for people to occupy land on which houses are not built and encouraged community members to move into Ext 7.

“We will not back off just because of some houses being built. Thousands of people are still without land or houses, so we urge them to take their land,” said Phoku.

One community member shared the EFF’s sentiments and wondered who was on the list, as she had been applying for housing whenever the municipality advertised such a call.

“I have been applying and have been on a waiting list ever since I can remember. We have been waiting, watching as these houses are being built. We are hoping and praying we are on the waiting list,” she said.

The municipality appealed to those who have not yet benefited from the housing to be patient as their turn is coming. Municipal spokesman, Mandla Zwane, pleaded with community members not to invade land illegally. He added government was committed to delivering decent housing with proper infrastructure in an orderly manner.

He added that the political leadership, both local and provincial, would be handing over the houses, celebrating with the beneficiaries in the not too distant future.

Amanda Mthembu

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