To encourage land invasion is to invite humanitarian disaster

By Andrew Louw, MPL, DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape:

The Democratic Alliance believes that all residents are entitled to safe houses in secure communities. Illegal construction is not the proper way to address the housing need in the province. The Democratic Alliance also believes that, as a result of the slow delivery of houses in the province, communities become despondent and resort to taking the law into their own hands.

We condemn the shocking and reckless utterances made by Dennis Pienaar, the councilor for Ward 30 in Sol Plaatje Local Municipality.

As a ward councillor, Mr. Pienaar does not have a discretion to hand over plots for housing.

To encourage land invasions and the illegal building of houses is to invite a humanitarian disaster. The undeniably, unacceptably slow pace of housing delivery in Jacksonville cannot be solved by creating further problems. Municipalities are meant to embark on a process of spatial planning which allows for carefully considered development, including the delivery of houses once there is adequate bulk infrastructure.

In this instance, however, Mr. Pienaar is throwing all caution to the wind.

How many of the sites in Jacksonville are serviced? How many of the residents will have access to clean water and adequate sanitation? How many outbreaks of water-borne diseases will occur because of poor water supply and a lack of sanitation?

If the street grid is not laid out properly and there is neither street names nor numbers, how will fire trucks and ambulances be able to respond to emergency calls? Each year, a number of fires claim the lives of babies, toddlers and the elderly. This year was no exception.

Recently, a high school learner in Lerato Park passed away after waiting more than three hours for an ambulance to respond. Will Mr.

Pienaar take personal responsibility for any tragedy that may occur if emergency personnel cannot get to those in need in time?

The possibility also exists that members from communities outside Jacksonville will erect homes on vacant plots. This could create friction. Since April this year, Jacksonville has been something of a hotspot for service delivery protests. We need to restore calm to the community and not incite further unrest.

We call on the Sol Plaatje municipality and the party that Mr. Pienaar represents to bring him to task for his reckless words.