Desperate and frustrated – this is how the chairperson of the Parkwood Backyard Association in Parkwood, Dominique Booysen, described how some residents feel about the lack of housing in their community. Fresh demonstrations erupted in Parkwood and Ottery on Monday, after illegally erected shacks were dismantled. Residents resorted to burning tyres and rubble, disrupting traffic in the process.
Booysen said residents are fed up after no progress was made since the first wave of protests in May last year. Hundreds of political promises later, and their housing needs have yet to be addressed.
“People are protesting because our concerns have fallen on deaf ears. They promised us land, but nothing has materialised. No one even bothered to communicate any new developments. Since last year, we have seen no developments in the area,” he said.
Residents embarked on protest action last week voicing their dissatisfaction at the slow pace of housing delivery. Booysen stressed that residents have done everything in their power to ensure that this project does not only end up on a “project list” without anything materialising.
“We started with communication and then pickets. We had memorandums handed over and now we’re protesting. On Wednesday, a group of residents picketed outside the offices of Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela,” said Booysen.
According to the Department’s Director of Communication and Stakeholder Relations, Nathan Adriaanse, all development has been communicated with the residents.
“We sympathise with the backyard dwellers. We had numerous meeting to make sure residents know where we are and what we are doing. We have informed them that we are still in the planning phase ad that the completion of the project will take time, however no time frame could be given to the residents,” he said.
“It doesn’t take a month to build houses; we are busy with a statutory process to fulfil the commitment we made working with the committee from Parkwood” he stated.
“Those who are claiming nothing is happening are misleading the community. I will be calling a meeting there very soon to address the community. Parkwood and the greater Retreat are reflected in this year’s budget of my department.” VOC