Action group calls off housing picket

Members of the Manenberg Action Group met with the City s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, to discuss the concerns they have around the Manenberg housing project.

The Manenberg Action Group has called off its picketing outside the construction site of the Manenberg housing development, as they say they have met their objective – to stop work from continuing in order to resume talks with the City of Cape Town.

Members of the group have been protesting at the site since the start of the month, but on Monday March 25, the protests were called off.

The project involves the construction of 587 houses, but the Manenberg Action Group claims the project is riddled with corruption and nepotism. To date, 217 houses were handed over to beneficiaries.

The City’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, said he acknowledged the group’s grievances,and that the City would welcome them lodging a formal complaint so that an investigation could take place.

“Interference in the construction of this project in any way, or actions that may be illegal or to the detriment of the majority of the beneficiaries and community at large, will not be acceptable. Being in the area afforded me the opportunity to engage with residents and to listen to the community’s queries and concerns.

“We look forward to working with this pressure group to ensure that the law is upheld and that we are able to provide assistance to our people in the most fair and structured way possible. We urge the group not to interfere with the workers and to allow the construction to continue,” Mr Booi said.

Belinda Petersen, the spokesperson for the Manenberg Action Group, said since the meeting, there had been no resolutions or recommendations. She added that they were willing to continue talks with the City.

“We had a request from our members that we must reach out to the City again. When we met with Mr Booi, there was no resolution. They didn’t address our concerns of corruption and nepotism. They say we must put our concerns in writing, but we have been writing to all the officials involved,” Ms Petersen said.

She said her group was sceptical about presenting evidence – which would back up their allegations – to City officials.

“We have a list of complaints, and we do have evidence. However, how do you give evidence to the people who are involved? We decided to rather forward the evidence we have to the City’s forensic investigating unit,” Ms Petersen said.

Mr Booi said the City’s human settlements directorate took allegations of mismanagement “very seriously and was willing to investigate claims in this regard”.

He added: “However, in order to do so, complainants must report the allegations in writing to the City. The details must be provided, including the names of individuals alleged to be involved, as well as applicable evidence. The correct channels must be followed and there must be allowance made for the matter to be investigated properly.”