7 July 2015

South Africa: MOU to Address Housing Needs in Winnie Mandela

Pretoria — The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the community of Winnie Mandela informal settlement to work jointly to find a lasting solution to the housing problems there.

The agreement was signed on Monday, when Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo met with the Ekurhuleni Concerned Residents Association (ECRA) and their legal representative, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) to broker a deal for the parties to find each other.

The meeting follows a legal action taken by ECRA against the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, including provincial and national Departments of Human Settlements.

The ECRA demanded that 133 beneficiaries of Winnie Mandela be either given new houses or formalised the shacks, where they are currently staying.

MEC Mamabolo said he was happy that the meeting led to the parties suspending litigation and opted to settle out of court.

He said they will come back in a month's time with a full proposal on how they will respond and deliver to the 133 affected beneficiaries.

"The detailed plan will also include feasibility of upgrading where they are currently staying, availability of alternative housing in the area and realistic timeframes of when these will be done.

"We have also enlisted the services of Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo Auditing firm to vet and verify the submitted list. After the verification each person will be treated as a unique case so that the department can find the best way to assist them," said MEC Mamabolo.

Director of Litigation at SERI, Nomzamo Zondo, said they welcomed the initiative from the MEC to address the housing needs of the residents of Winnie Mandela.

"We hope that this is the beginning of a long lasting relationship between the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements and the community," said Zondo.

The parties will meet again on 14 August 2015, where the department will present a report so that they can agree on a way forward.

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