Residents demand Rathwick project stop

DEMANDING JUSTICE: Ward 15 and 16 residents, from left, Elias Magwayi, Thembisa Sali, Cynthia Doko, Jackson Taliwe and Mnyamezeli Sana Picture: NTSIKELELO QOYO

The Rathwick housing development project has come under fire yet again as residents in Mlungisi demand that construction at the project should stop.

A group of ward 15 and 16 residents marched to the site of the low-to-middle income housing project to demand that tools be downed until they are also employed in the project. They argue that job vacancies were only made available for ward 13 residents, while the project affected all three wards.

While there was no work being done on site when they marched last week, they were adamant that they would invade the site every day until their demands were met.

Community leader Elias Magwayi said no construction should continue until their demands were met.

“The project did not start in a lawful way because it was not made known to all the affected wards. We just saw people working, while construction will affect all our areas. We stood up today to make sure there is no more construction until people are employed properly.”

Magwayi said project liaison committees (PLCs) from wards 15 and 16 had been sidelined.

“There is a community liaison officer (CLO) there, yet that post was not advertised. We are told 10 people have already been employed and all of them are from ward 13. When our PLCs raise these issues they are ignored,” he added.

Ward 15 resident Jackson Taliwe said they had reached an impasse with Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) after the community meeting reported by The Rep (Another housing setback, June 19) when he said it was agreed the employment for the project was not above board.

“We all agreed that we need to go back to the drawing board and the issue of employment corrected. It was also agreed that the CLO must be removed. The construction company was supposed to go back to affected communities to correct this, yet no progress has been made and construction in continuing,” said Taliwe.

In response to concerns raised about the project, CHDM spokesperson Thobeka Mqamela said: “The municipality is aware of the areas of discontent raised by the community and they are being attended to although the pace towards finding a resolution is disappointing.

“Another engagement with all parties concerned was convened last week, however, no consensus could be reached. The absence of some critical role players also contributed to the meeting not yielding positive results.  The municipality is planning to reconvene all concerned, urgently, to ensure the matter is resolved with a clear way forward agreed by all.”