Fear of the coming rainy season has led the so-called Mamelodi flood victims to take action as they embarked on a march to the Mini-Munitoria municipal office demanding answers on the delay of their relocation following corruption claims.
The residents were accompanied by former acting Tshwane mayor Abel Tau to hand over a memorandum to Tshwane metro authorities last Friday.
In 2019, they were displaced from their shacks when the area flooded in heavy rains. Most of them were temporarily accommodated at a church in Mamelodi West.
December Matlala, a representative of the flood victims said “too much corruption” in the relocation process had led to the protest.
“We are experiencing delays for no apparent reason other than corruption,” said Matlala.
“We are very disappointed in the Tshwane metro because now the rainy season is coming, and we don’t want to experience last year’s flooding again.
“The relocation process started on 9 July, but the project was suddenly put on hold on 11 July,” he said. “It was a great honour and the flood victims expressed happiness after waiting almost for seven months to be relocated.”
The flood victims were angry because the list of residents to be relocated allegedly included foreign nationals.
“We are not going to allow that to happen because they [the foreign nationals] didn’t have the right to stay there in the first place while rightful beneficiaries are left behind,” said Matlala.
Another displaced person from Mavuso informal settlement Thabo Mashiane said he was not happy with the decision the metro took and said the process was taking too long.
He pleaded with authorities to speed up the process to move them to safe land.
Lesego Kekana said: “I stay with my two children in a shack at the Marikana informal settlement and now I’m afraid if they don’t move us soon, there will be a second disaster.”
Matlala said they had given the metro three days to respond to their memorandum.
Former acting Tshwane mayor Abel Tau said he hoped the metro would relocate the people immediately before they found themselves in another disaster.
Deputy director of human settlements department central Mandla Sigudhla received the memorandum on behalf of the Tshwane metro management.
He said he would make sure that the memorandum reached the necessary powers who would respond to residents’ concerns.
Tshwane metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said the metro was aware of the corruption allegations.
“Officials from the metros human settlement department conducted an investigation into the matter and no corruption or wrongdoing was found,” said Mashigo.
“The process was transparent and the committee members of the Eerste Fabrieke (displaced people) was also part of the proceedings and feedback was provided to them.
“The findings were accepted by everyone and the allegations of corruption against the pastor are a fabrication.
“The relocation process has not stopped, the recent labour unrest the metro was facing hindered the relocation process.”
Police and metro police officers monitored the march.
This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.