Around 250 residents from Malabar Extension Six in Port Elizabeth have been told to pack their belongings, leave their shacks, and relocate to a nearby service site where the metro has promised to build them new homes.
But the residents are up in arms and outright refused to relocate yet again.
On Monday they burnt tyres and protested against the proposed removal. A meeting was held at the Malabar Community Centre where residents were informed they would have to make the move.
Ward councillor Sharlene Davids told the African News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday that the whole process was being halted by residents who refused to relocate. Davids said that no houses were built as yet and explained that the houses would only get built once the residents occupied the service site area which is located near the Malabar Primary School.
But residents on Monday complained that they had no money nor materials to rebuild their shacks at the service site which is currently undergoing development of new roads.
Bronwyn Hiles, 32, said the service site was near a gang infested area and they were being sent from pillar to post. Hiles claimed this was the fourth time they had been told to relocate.
However, Davids disputed this and said that since she had been the ward councillor for approximately two and a half years, residents had been instructed to relocate only twice.
Leana Leslie, 17, said that they were also concerned they would be forced to pay “protection fees” to gangsters in the area. Leslie said that they had no money to rebuild their shacks while waiting for houses to be built in the interim.
“We don’t have money to rebuild our shacks. Every time we must move we must rebuild and our shacks are getting smaller and smaller. We also don’t have money to pay protection fees,” she said.
Elwinecia Rayners said that December last year for them was utter misery. “Suddenly we were told to move, there’s no water here, no electricity. Snakes and rocks in our homes.”
Rayners said that they were tired of empty promises. It was not immediately clear as to when the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality planned to start with the construction of the planned 200 houses. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has yet to respond to media queries.
– African News Agency