PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - After what has been described as a disappointing meeting with the Bitou housing department last week, New Horizons residents are appealing to the town’s mayor directly to address their issues.
This Plettenberg Bay community has been at the centre of housing protests over the past two months following claims that government had failed to address their need for housing.
The protests brought high-profile politicians to Plett including national human settlements minister Nomaindia Mfeketo and her provincial counterpart Bonginkosi Madikizela. This, however, added fuel to the fire as New Horizons residents felt that they too ignored their plight.
New Horizons Concerned Citizens Forum chairperson Granville Naldrett said following the visit of national and provincial government representatives, a meeting between residents and the Bitou housing department was held on 2 August.
'Officials brushed us off'
“As a community we are not happy with the latest news presented to us during this meeting. After posing several questions about the New Horizons housing concerns, officials brushed us off saying that they were not handling the money for houses or dealing with where the projects were allocated,” Naldrett said.
He added that one of the biggest questions posed by the community was why other areas in Bitou were regularly receiving large numbers of houses with the exception of New Horizons.
This prompted a letter by the forum addressed to Bitou mayor Peter Lobese and municipal manager Thabo Ndlovu.
“What has New Horizons done to you and officials for you to be treating us the way you have in terms of allocating houses?” the letter reads.
Naldrett added for the past 23 years New Horizons had only received 62 units. “Neighbouring areas like Pine Trees and Gaatjie had been developed due to the fact that these were informal settlements. In New Horizons, the majority of those in need of housing are what is called backyard dwellers. There are about 950 of them.”
'Only 62 units received'
He further said that New Horizons had been part of the 2012-2017 and 2017-2020 IDP for housing.
“In 2015/16 the annual housing allocation was originally R45-million, but after having been reviewed, revised to R54-million. During that period council approved a three-year housing project for Bitou which included New Horizons. Until now, we have only received 62 units.”
He further said the project included Portion 20 of Ebenezer – a property the municipality purchased in June 2016.
“We would like to be addressed by previous members of council and the mayor during the period between 2010 and 2016 as we feel they are the councillors that planned these projects.”
The Bitou Municipality is yet to respond to queries relating to this plea.
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