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Press Release: Occupiers in court over eThekwini Municipality’s failure to develop housing policy

Press Release: Occupiers in court over eThekwini Municipality’s failure to develop housing policy

 

Published by Legal Resources Centre 04 July 2018

For Immediate Release: 04 July 2018

 

Today, 04 July 2018, the occupiers of Erf 471, U Section, Umlazi, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, have filed their answering affidavit in Durban High Court opposing an application for their eviction brought by eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

The occupiers have also filed their counter-application asking for an order directing the Municipality to develop a clear policy for the allocation of RDP houses, as well as to produce the housing lists for its area of jurisdiction.

The occupiers have moved into the houses built by the Municipality without the Municipality’s consent. Their action was motivated by a number of factors stemming from failures by the Municipality with regards to good governance and their fear that they would be overlooked, as was previously the case, and not allocated houses.

Their counter-application argues that the Municipality has failed to produce a housing list and the Municipality does not have a clear housing allocation policy.

The occupiers are all the residents who were born and resided in U Section, uMlazi, since birth. They are South Africans who have applied for RDP housing subsidies. Three housing developments in the area took place previously. They have never been allocated houses in all three housing developments.

They have been sent from pillar to post by the Municipality and the Ward Councillor. The majority of the occupiers of the settlement are unemployed, although some are employed. Those who are employed earn between R1 200 and R3 500 per month. The money is used to support their families, their children, their spouses and, in some cases, their parents and siblings.  Many of them are the sole breadwinners in their families.

The occupiers’ main concerns are that the Municipality has failed to adhere with the principle of good governance, in that it has failed to develop a clear policy for the allocation of RDP houses within its area of jurisdiction. It has further failed to develop coherent housing lists. The Municipality has also failed to follow any fair, transparent and open process in dealing with the applications and allocations of the subsidy houses. Finally, the occupiers have not been allocated subsidy houses nor have they been informed about the criteria used to identify the qualifying beneficiaries for the housing subsidy.

This case demonstrates the lengths that people will go to when they have been frustrated by government inaction. We hope this case will bring more clarity to the people of U Section and lead to an amicable solution for all parties. Most importantly, we would like to see the right to housing realised for our clients.

ENDS

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