Uncertainty over land must end in Orange Farm

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

Uncertainty over land must end in Orange Farm so that true development takes place to uplift its residents.

This is my conclusion after my visit there as part of the DA’s “Don’t forget the forgotten” campaign to highlight the plight of forgotten communities and assist them. I was accompanied by local DA councillor Sizwe Mnguni and DA activists.

Promises have been made to relocate people in informal settlements throughout the Orange Farm area, but little of this appears likely to happen soon.

Meanwhile, conditions in places like Drieziek Extension 5 are appalling. The Johannesburg council has shamefully provided only two toilets and one tap for the 700 households in this area.

At Lakeside Extension 1 there are RDP houses built illegally right next to the railway line, and the whole area has been declared unsuitable because it is a wetland. I saw houses and muddy roads that are regularly flooded when it rains.

76 RDP houses in Lakeside Ext 1 built in 1997 have been demolished and the residents relocated, but 106 RDP houses remain and no date has been given for their relocation. Poor planning in this instance has meant a huge waste of money.

I also visited Orange Farm Ext 8 where I saw a concrete slab for an RDP house that was mysteriously never built. Residents complained about lack of title deeds, and said that there was bribery to get houses and services.

At Ennerdale South I met with people who had lived in an informal settlement there since 1982. They were told by their ANC councillor that they are temporary, and will be moved.

I stayed the night at the house of Mrs Makhosi Nene who has a small-holding at Drieziek. She is having difficulty converting her lease of the land into a proper title deed.

Residents of Orange Farm and surrounding areas deserve proper land planning and efficient upgrading of services. Land ownership with title deeds must be speeded up.

Housing tenders and the housing list must be transparent and fair, otherwise accusations of rampant corruption will continue to be made.