West Cape News (Cape Town)

South Africa: Allegations of Corruption At Langa Temporary Relocation Area

Barely three weeks since being allocated a temporary house in Langa, Thandeka Ngcelwane, 28, returned to her shack on Saturday evening to find someone else living in it.

The lock she had put on the door had been broken and her belongings were out on the street. The woman who had taken her place claimed to be the new owner and refused to move out.

Ngcelwane, who was a victim of the 2005 fire that displaced hundreds of people living in Langa's Joe Slovo informal settlement at the time, said she had proof from the Housing Development Agency (HDA) that the shelter in the Langa Temporary Relocation Area (TRA) had been allocated to her and she had moved in on June 29.

She said she had been allocated the one-room wood structure as her shack in Joe Slovo had to be demolished to make way for a new housing development.

Her story has drawn sympathy from the Abahlali BaseMjondolo housing lobby group as she suffers from epilepsy and has frequent seizures.

She said she had approached the Langa Police in the hope of laying a charge of housebreaking and malicious damage to property but the officer on duty refused to open a case, saying it was a matter for community leaders to resolve.

"I suffer from high blood pressure and a headache...this is really affecting me," she said, indicating that the HDA had on Monday promised her she would get her house back.

The Langa branch of Abahlali BaseMjondolo alleges that the TRA committee head Zukisani Sibunzi was the one responsible for placing someone else in Ngcelwane's house.

In a statement, the lobby group also claimed that Ngcelwane's case was not isolated and that "large numbers" of occupied TRA houses were being sold by community leaders to other people for about R3000 each.

It said that some "beautiful" women were even "subsidising" payment for the houses by providing sexual favours to the leaders.

When contacted by West Cape News today, Sibunzi denied any knowledge of Ngcelwane's case.

However, when pressed, he promised that the she would get her house back by the end of the day following a community meeting.

"I promise she will get it back," he said, adding that if there were corrupt people in the community, evidence should be produced and legal action taken.

"I have heard about the corruption in the media, I need proof," he said, adding that cases of house invasions were common.

The new occupant of Ngcelwane's house was not at home today and could not be reached for comment.

Langa station commander Cnl. Vuyisile Ncata said he was not at the station on Saturday when Ngcelwane was believed to have tried to open a case.

However, he said on the face of it a case should be opened and she could approach him in order to lay a charge.

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