Byline: Andani Matumba

30 May 2022

Residents of Branden Village took to the streets and went to the Govan Mbeki Municipal Offices unannounced and voiced their grievances through chanting songs outside the Municipal main building on 29 April 2022.

These are the residents who are said to have invaded and grabbed some of the houses to themselves in Brendan Village around August 2021.

The houses are said to be luxurious and some even said to have swimming pools.

The residents demanded tosee the Executive Mayor, Cllr Nhlakanipho Zuma who was not available on that day. 

MMC  Thandi Ngxonono of Planning and Development accompanied by the Acting Municipal Manager, Ms Elizabeth Tshabalala met with the delegates of the protesters in the Govan Mbeki Council Chambers.

The memorandum was presented to the municipality and was received on behalf of the Executive Mayor by MMC Ngxonono by affixing her signature upon receipt.

On their list of demands the residents demanded the following:

1. That the council revoke resolution number A046/03/2022 taken by council on 13/04/22 and that the council took the resolution ignoring the people who are directly involved and the very same people who have sent numerous letters to communicate with the municipality;

2. That the council takes a resolution to sell the houses at Brendan Village “voetstoots” as per agreement of the MEC of Human Settlement in the meeting held on 22/03/2022. 

3. That IP consultation be done at Brendan Village;

4. That  proof be provided that no other person can do the job done by Sengwane Attorneys and answers to the LED policy; 

5.Final demand was to know whether the National treasury was aware that a person facing criminal charges of fraud has been appointed to handle a similar project as the one he is said to have mismanaged.

In finality of their demands, residents also demanded that the Executive Mayor delivers the response to the memorundum in person at Brendan village.

After receiving the memorandum and in her address to the resident, MMC Ngxonono said it is the priority of the Municipality to see that people of GMM are settled.

“Let us be South Africans and engage in issues especially those concerning housing since it is a priority for the municipality to see that its people are settled according to requirements, which have to be people are provided with houses,” emphasized Ngxonono.

In his written response of 09 May 2022, the Executive Mayor stated that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Section 152(2) & (3) confers to the municipal council an executive and legislative authority including the rights to govern on its own initiative , the affairs of the municipality and its community.

“It is against this legislative duty bound to allow all planning and development processes to conclude before any other decisions is taken,” said Cllr Zuma in his response to the  first demand.

Cllr Zuma stated further that indeed the Provincial Department of Human Settlement purchased land and handed it over to GMM to meet the Department’s needs of its people.

“ The Municipality therefore has a responsibility to think developmentally before decisions are made, these include the imperative of developing the area into the township that will accommodate more people over and above the tenants that are currently occupying the few houses and only when the township establishment processes have been concluded can the council pronounce itself on the assets in question,” said the EM, responding to the second demand.

The Mayor highlighted that the IDP processes have been concluded and it is the budget consultations which are currently underway stating further that community members can make arrangements with the office of the Speaker from now onwards to deal with the third demand. Responding to the Fourth demand, Cllr Zuma said,“GMM does not have an approved LED policy but operates using a strategy document and no procurement process was undertaken to appoint a conveyancer as Sengwane attorneys is contracted by Provincial Department of Human Settlement (PDOHS) concluding by stating that the municipality is unaware of any criminal charges and processes which are underway against the conveyancer.

The residents say that they are not happy with the response from the Mayor and shall engage further in this issue.