Statement on forced removals in Alexandra
Monday 13 September 2004
PRESS STATEMENT (MONDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2004)
FAMILIES IN MARLBORO ‘TRANSIT VILLAGE’ (ALEXANDRA) TO RESIST FORCED REMOVAL/EVICTION - SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE FROM TOMORROW - TO BRAAM FISCHER SETTLEMENT ON OUTSKIRTS OF SOWETO
GAUTENG PROVINCIAL HOUSING DEPARTMENT’S ‘ALEXANDRA RENEWAL PROJECT’ (ALSO A PRESIDENTIAL PROJECT) RIDDLED WITH CORRUPTION, NEPOTISM, CRASS OPPORTUNISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL MISMANAGEMENT
Over 1000 Alexandra families who have been living in the Marlboro ‘transit village’ (nicknamed Zandfontein), and who have been waiting patiently for the Gauteng Provincial Housing Department to build and allocate new houses in Alexandra for years have now been told that they will be forcibly removed/evicted to the Braam Fischer settlement. This, despite the many promises made by the Department and its ‘Alexandra Renewal Project’ (ARP) to build new houses in Alexandra for the families and an undertaking that after the forced removal of thousands of families to Diepsloot many years ago, there would be no repetition of such measures.
After representatives of the ‘transit village’ approached the APF for assistance, the APF ascertained that over 98% of the families reject the unilateral decision of the Department to forcibly remove them far from the Alexandra community that has been their home for many years (most of the families were previously moved to the ‘transit village’ from other parts of Alexandra). The only demand of the families is that the Provincial Housing Department fulfil its promise to build them houses in Alexandra They have related how, in the last several weeks, the lead consultants employed to carry out the ‘Alexandra Renewal Project’ - led by the ARP’s programme manager, Themba Maluleke - have been issuing double threats: that if the families refuse to move, they will never get government housing; and, that those families who refuse to move will be thrown out into the streets. The families, alongside the APF, have collectively decided to resist this outrageous, illegal, opportunistic and cowardly behaviour and threatened action.
Over the course of the last several months, the APF has managed to access information, which clearly shows that the ‘Alexandra Renewal Project’ (ARP) has been riddled with corruption, nepotism, crass opportunism and developmental mismanagement and that little has been done to reverse this state of affairs. An independent investigation commissioned by the Gauteng Department of Housing, and conducted in mid-2002, into the role and conduct of consultants tasked with managing and implementing the ARP - specifically the lead ‘BEE’ consultant, Maluleke, Luthuli and Associates - concluded, amongst other findings, that: proper tender procedures have been violated; favouritism has been shown in the allocation of ARP services and payment of ‘consultancy’ fees (for example, the notorious Wozani Security - the ‘Red Ants’ - received over R9 million, virtually the entire budget for ‘security services’ carried out in Alexandra by that time); unauthorised consultants have been brought on board and various developmental terms of reference have been unilaterally changed without any process of consultation; ‘previously disadvantaged institutions’ “do not play a significant role in the ARP”; and, “there is general discontentment and disillusionment about the ARP, particularly among the people of Alexandra”. The investigation recommended that, “urgent corrective measures need to be taken to salvage the image of APR on the ground ... a flagship programme like the ARP should not be allowed to be discredited more”.
Despite all of the above, the same lead consultants have continued to run with the ARP, which is supposed to be a national standard bearer of ‘community development’ and so-called black economic empowerment (BEE), and are being allowed to continue with their same brand of discredited management, cronyism and opportunistic politics at the expense of the supposed beneficiaries, the poor of Alexandra. This cannot be allowed to continue. The poor families in Marlboro and increasing numbers of Alexandra residents are fed-up. Government must act now to ‘clean up’ the ARP and stop victimising the very people who they claim to be serving.
STOP THE FORCED REMOVALS/EVICTIONS OF THE POOR IN ALEXANDRA!!
GOVERNMENT FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT FOR THE FAT CATS!