Over, a year later and still homeless, Siyahlahla-la RDP home update

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

For various Newcastle residents receiving an RDP home in Siyahlahla – la, Fairleigh meant the dawn of new beginnings for them. However, their story was just beginning. 

In October 2020, the Newcastillian – Online News reported on how seven RDP homes had been set alight, following allegations of corruption and several homes not being allocated to the correct individuals.

To read the full article, click here.

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While the former Newcastle Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba assured the matter would be investigated, the situation around the homes merely escalated. This came after a mob of irate residents took to the streets and started evicting people from their RDP homes.

At the time, one of the evicted residents voiced his dissatisfaction with the situation, explaining how he had applied for an RDP house in 2013, following the correct protocol and eventually receiving his house in 2019.

Following his forceful eviction, the resident said, “While I understand the community’s qualms and the fact that it is not easy living in a shack, especially during the rainy season, I followed the correct process.”

Within a few months thereafter, a mob comprised of Siyahlahla-la residents once again began evicting people from their RDP homes. To which the Newcastle Municipality highlighted that not only did it condemn mob justice, but it assured that the government entity was investigating the matter to ensure justice prevailed.

To read the article, click here.

However, determined to ensure they received their homes after being forcefully evicted, several of the ousted residents threatened to resort to violence if their houses were not returned to them.

This follows a community meeting in March 2021, where a large group of residents planned to discuss their next steps forward. This, according to the residents, was after receiving little communication from the Newcastle Municipality.

At the time, residents said “We want to know what is going on. It is urgent, as our homes are being destroyed by those who moved in. Also, some of us were forced to leave furniture behind when we were evicted; what happens to our property if it is destroyed?”

The frustrated group further emphasised that with them not able to gain direction nor answers, they were willing to get physical, if necessary, to get their homes back.

“If we do not get any results from the municipality, we intend to go into our homes and will use force if we have to,” declared a resident.

To read the full article, click here.

While potential bloodshed was averted, the situation has not improved for residents who were evicted months back.

With approximately 80 people still waiting for the return of their homes, the Premier for KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala recently stated that during the Pre-State of the Province listening campaign, his department had received several concerns from Siyahlahla residents.

“We heard your cries about armed invaders who have unlawfully taken occupation of your homes,” he affirmed. 

Furthermore, Premier Zikalala assured that the Department of Human Settlements would be conducting an audit, and anyone found to have occupied a house illegally would be evicted and charged criminally.

Now with the three-month audit’s deadline earmarked for the end of May 2022, a Siyahlahla-la resident stressed that evicted people simply want answers.

“We have received no feedback, and people need to be held accountable. None of the people who were evicted have received their homes back and there are still people squatting in our homes,” he stressed.

While unable to give an official comment, the Manager of the Mayor’s Office, Melusi Ndima pointed out that the Newcastle Municipality leadership would be following up on the matter.

In the interim, residents are urged to remain calm until the audit is officially complete.

What are your thoughts on the above-mentioned? Share your views in the comment section below.

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