Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga had to “again deal with Sputla’s nonsense” when he left a media briefing to attend to protesters in the city centre on Wednesday.
The group of about 200 had gathered, demanding the refurbishment of Schubart Park and Kruger Park flats, which was due in January this year.
Msimanga arrived from his office in Centurion, telling the media he would be dealing with former mayor Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa’s shortfalls.
The crowd, dressed in red T-shirts, anticipated the mayor’s arrival to read out and hand over their memorandum of demands.
Residents and members of the Schubart and Kruger Park Residence Committee (SKPRC) told the mayor they were “brutally” evicted from their homes by the City in September 2011.
This after residents had protested against the “inhumane” living conditions, such as lack of water and electricity in the two buildings, to the then ANC-led
“After long legal battles, the Constitutional Court on August 12, 2012 ordered the city to refurbish Schubart Park and put us back in our homes. Mr Mayor, Schubart Park is the only home we have. The city took advantage of us because of our poor economic status and evicted us,” said SKPRC’s Mashao Chauke.
President of the Schubart Park Residents Committee Ali Mashimbye said evicted residents were moved to four different blocks of flats, but urged the mayor to revisit the court’s judgment.
He said when Msimanga took office, such projects were cancelled due to restricted spending.
“Our victory can’t go in vain. There is no sign or any indication that this building is being attended to. The mayor said they want to cut costs, but while cutting costs, he should refurbish Schubart Park and the residents will remain where they are until this is done,” he told The Citizen.
The project was delayed after the contractor, who was granted the multimillion-rand project some three years ago, apparently lacked the expertise to start and complete the project.
In the 2014 State of the Capital address, Ramokgopa promised the refurbishment would be completed in 24 months.
Chauke said the redevelopment of the building would have brought needed jobs and skills to the unemployed.
“Please Mr Mayor, even the poor deserves to live in town where economic activities are at a close proximity. In the past six years that we have been evicted, we have not seen any development that is advancing our relocation back to Schubart Park.”