Minister Madikizela: Mandela Park Backyarders Must Respect the Rule of Law | Western Cape Government


Minister Madikizela: Mandela Park Backyarders Must Respect the Rule of Law

26 July 2011

Media Statement by Minister of Human Settlements, Bonginkosi Madikizela

In response to the article in the Cape Times on 26 July 2011, titled "Call for Madikizela to resign over house allocation", I dismissed the call of the Mandela Park Backyarders as a joke, as their allegations lack any reasonable foundation.

I feel it's important to clarify why I no longer take the Mandela Park Backyarders and their demands seriously. Let me state that this does not apply to all backyarders living in Khayelitsha, as there are many decent, reasonable people living in backyards in the area.

First, regarding the Mandela Park Backyarders' statement that houses are found to be "irregularly or corruptly allocated": my Department has conducted and concluded a comprehensive survey and I'm aware that there are a number of illegal occupants in Mandela Park, not just 12 as they claim. It is of no use to go and present these findings to Mandela Park residents if we cannot tell them what we are going to do about the findings.

There are a number of challenges and complications one needs to consider. It must be understood that the Prevention of Illegal Eviction (PIE) Act prevents us from evicting these people without alternative accommodation. Any decision must be preceded by careful consideration of a number of things, and it is not as easy as the Mandela Park Backyarders claim.

Second, the allegation that the Mandela Park Backyarders have been ignored by me and my Department is not true for the following reasons. I have had a number of meetings with the Mandela Park Backyarders in the past, where I have extensively discussed our plans and challenges. Our disagreement stems from the refusal by me to bypass processes and procedures in order to handover sites and houses to them - sites which have already been allocated to rightful beneficiaries.

They wanted me to allow them to illegally invade these sites and houses because they claimed to be entitled to them by virtue of being residents of the area in which the project is being undertaken. I cannot work with people who are selfish and only look after their own interests at the expense of others.

The Mandela Park Backyarders are levelling accusations against me and my Department in order to shift attention from the issue at hand, which is that there is a fair and just process followed which unfortunately will benefit others before it benefits them.

We live in a society where the rule of law is more important than the right of the individual to do what they want. With this principle in mind, I refuse to recognise the Mandela Park Backyarders as leaders, because their conduct does not suggest the maturity and respect for due legal process that is required of leaders. Second, true leaders should hold the interests of their community above their own, whereas it has become increasingly clear to me that the Mandela Park Backyarders have their own agenda and their personal interests at heart.

If necessary, after following the conditions of the PIE Act, we will obtain a court order to demolish houses constructed by backyarders on sites not belonging to them, so we can build houses for the rightful beneficiaries, and that we can show our commitment to the fair and just allocation of sites and houses.

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