The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is optimistic that the pressure it has placed on Ndlambe Municipality has paid off, and that the residents of the Klipfontein wetlands in the Bushman’s area now appear likely to be moved to new sites.
DA councillor Joc Guest said that on Thursday October 8, Ndlambe mayor Khululwa Ncamiso made a verbal commitment that 70 informal sites will be made available to the wetlands community.
“The mayor also stated that she will now confer with her officials and the community’s committee about relocating the residents, once they have been screened,” Guest said.
“Residents illegally settled on this stretch of wetland and have placed their lives at risk, as they have built their homes in an area prone to flooding.
“Mayor Ncamiso stated yesterday that she was unaware of people squatting on the wetlands, but disconcertingly the residents have allegedly done so with the permission of local government officials.”
The commitment by the mayor follows after DA Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Dedeat), Yusuf Cassim, MPL, joined councillors Guest and Phil Kani in conducting an oversight inspection at the affected community on September 14.
Cassim wrote to the Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Environmental Affairs, Mlungisi Mvoko, to highlight the consequences of these kinds of settlements on the environment, and requested that action be taken to relocate the people.
He also wrote to the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Xolile Nqatha, requesting that he investigate the claims of officials granting permission for these residents to reside in the area.
“The DA commits to ensuring that the mayor delivers on her promises and that these residents finally receive homes,” Guest said.
“The people in the Eastern Cape deserve a capable government who has the well-being of all its residents as its top priority.
“The DA is committed to accelerating human settlement delivery, while promoting social inclusion through the development of integrated, resilient, safe and sustainable human settlements in an open opportunity society.”
Talk of the Town has also asked Ndlambe Municipality for comment.