Legislature comes to the ‘lawless enclave’ of Gauteng

The community of Alexandra came in their numbers to hear the outcome of their petitions.

 

Alex residents welcomed the sitting of the Gauteng Legislature in the township for the past two days and said it was a sobering event, which they hope will solve the many problems that plague the township they describe as ‘a lawless enclave of the province’.

Residents made these remarks when they were given the opportunity to air their views and post their questions to members of the Provincial Legislature (MPLs), who were accompanied by the chairperson of the Petitions Standing Committee, Refilwe Mogale and MPL Thuliswa Nkabinde and other members.

The purpose of the sitting was to convene a public hearing over two days, 31 March and 1 April, aimed at resolving service delivery concerns raised by various community members in Alexandra and surrounding areas through petitions, which included areas such as Cosmo City, Diepsloot, Kaalfontein, Klipfontein, Lombardy West and Meriting.

Read: New principal vows to turn Alex’s Realogile Secondary School around

The ‘hot potato’ of the petitions included the long-standing and feudalistic allocation of houses in the Far East Bank’s Extension 9 and 10, popularly known as the K206 settlement which was built on what was earmarked as the K206 Road linking Alexandra and Midrand.

Sandile Mavundla, a community liaison officer of the Alexandra Renewal Project.

The Alexandra Renewal Project’s (ARP) allocation system created a feudalistic arrangement of landlord and tenant among former shack dwellers uprooted from the banks of the Jukskei River in old Alex and the new informal settlement of Setswetla, whose shacks were being constantly swept away by the flooded river in summer.

The ARP built flatlets in the area and allocated people of similar social standing but based on their income, as owners of the RDP flatlets and other were required to rent the outside rooms from the flatlet owners.

Read: Trip of a lifetime for MC Weiler schoolchildren from Alex

Those without an income were given the RDP flatlets and those working with an income were offered outside rental rooms on the ground as ‘tenants’ and paying a stipulated monthly rental of R350 to the ‘landlord’.

And although the intention may have been good, this has created an unprecedented feud among the former shack dwellers, as the tenants refused to pay the monthly rental after a few

months and the so-called landlords are bent on enforcing the agreement.

Refilwe Mogale, chairperson of the Petitions Standing Committee of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, makes a point during the proceedings at the East Bank Hall.

Conflicts and fights, police charges and countercharges have all broken out in the past eight years, threatening to become a full-blown war.

The former Democratic Alliance PR councillor, Shadrack Mkhonto tried to play peacemaker and organised residents to petition the City but with a lack of cooperation from the then ANC-led administration of the City and ARP, the whole saga blew up in his face.

At the petition hearings, now lodged with the Gauteng Legislature, resident after resident, both from the landlords and tenants, narrated horrifying stories of beatings, threats and verbal abuse they endure from one another. This included charges and counter charges at the Alexandra Police Station and court cases and counter court cases at the Alexandra

Read: Alex Mall creation is a dream come true for Alex residents

Magistrates’ Court, with the landlords accusing the police and court officials of siding with the tenants.

The affected parties all said they have never seen a lawless place like Alexandra, saying the democratic government was failing them by not attending to their problems timeously. “Are they waiting for us to die first in this lawless enclave before they can take action?” the residents wondered.

Do you also feel that Alex is a lawless place? Tweet @AlexNewsZA to share your views.

  AUTHOR
Sipho Siso

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