Troubled George Xaba’s community meeting collapses

George Xaba community meeting collapses
IN TROUBLE: eMalahleni housing company CEO George Xaba who was this week shaking to death when speaking to residents ended up having the community meeting that he called collapsing when the residents began asking hard questions. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK)

He had called the meeting with the Dingindoda tenants to explain to them the issue of making them pay rent.

EMalahleni housing company boss George Xaba has had a community meeting he called to address fuming Dingindoda residents collapse on Tuesday this week.

Xaba, who has a string of allegations levelled against him, including being accused of using the government rent collecting agent to “enrich himself”, called the heated meeting after rival Themba Sgudla and activist Bhuti Mamba had told the same Dingindoda residents on Thursday a week ago that Xaba was a “bogus man” trying to enrich himself at their expense.

SEE ALSO: George Xaba accused of enriching himself “from poor people’s plight”

This week Tuesday Xaba tried to stand in front of the angry residents who demand that the area must be “rent-to-buy” homes instead of “renting forever” and explained that it was government who wanted them to rent forever and that the residents “should not listen to other people who tell them to do illegal things”.

He said these were not RDP houses and was prepared to prove through documents that he was not “stealing the money” and was there through the approval of the provincial government.

Xaba said he had already spoken to Premier Refilwe Mtshweni and human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu as well as ANC regional leader Speedy Mashilo about the people who want the residents to own the homes than rent.

“We are calling this meeting after everything has been said,” the sweating Xaba said while on stage.

“All these things or allegations leveled against us are wrong,” the sweating Xaba said while standing on stage at the Ilanga secondary school hall inside the Dingindoda rental settlement.

EHC's George Xaba accused of enriching himself "from poor's suffering"
Formally known as uThingo Park, the Dingindoda rental area in eMalahleni.

“And what we are going to do as time goes by, we are going to prove it to you that they are all wrong,” Xaba said.

But Xaba then faced a storm when the residents began asking him hard questions.  They accused him of only coming to speak to them now that the call for the Dingindoda rental settlement – to be given to tenants for ownership was being made – and that he was opposed to this call because he wanted to benefit from the rent they pay.

One by one the tenants slammed him for “disrespecting” them and being “dishonest” to them, accusing him of collecting rent that he claims is used to maintain the area through the public institution called “eMalahleni Housing Company”.

George Xaba community meeting collapses
One of the residents asking questions during George Xaba’s meeting. PIC 013NEWS/MLM.

Xaba is accused of collecting R43 million yearly since 2008 using the non-profit company to enrich himself and not maintaining the dilapidating settlement – at poor working class’ expense – also, of making the people pay higher costs to those generally approved by a social housing authority.

He is also accused of diverting the money to buy guesthouses across the eMahlelani area and “cruelly” kicking out those who are not able to pay rent at the Dingindoda low cost homes, once they have lost employment.

The tenants now will no longer pay rent until 1 January 2019 when developer Sgudla is expected to give them the homes to own and stop “renting forever”.

But Xaba has vowed that those who listened to Sgudla and don’t pay rent will leave him with no choice but to evict them, in terms of the Rental Act of 1997 .

“Uthingo Park is a social housing or affordable rental housing project and not a low cost housing project where beneficiaries enjoy ownership,” Xaba said.

“The perception that is being created that the units can be handed over to people for ownership is far from the truth,” he said.

But while Xaba was on stage, the meeting degenerated into chaos when activist Bhuti Mamba entered the fully packed Dingindoda hall to thunderous applause from the desperate tenants who began booing Xaba and singing ‘Zizojika Izinto’ in welcoming Mamba to the hall.

The Dingindoda issue is described as a symptom of the housing problem in the eMalahleni area.

Mamba took the microphone from the rattled and sweating Xaba and slammed the “abusing of the people of eMalahleni” by those who are from the area.

He said that Sgudla owned the area and there was no way that the people of eMalahleni could be expected to “rent forever” to Xaba while Sgudla wanted to hand over the homes to them for ownership. He said those who were refusing this would face the wrath of the community.

George Xaba community meeting collapses
Buthi Mamba. PIC 013NEWS/ZK.

“Comrades, we have been abused for too long,” Mamba said to thunderous applause.

“Here I have documents proving that Sgudla is the owner of the area and has the right to give title deeds to you and nobody else. Anyone who wants these documents (a deed of transfer and a land availability agreement) they are available. Here are the copies. Come take it and also I do not think that this meeting should continue without Sgudla” Mamba said.

“Xaba should not tell us a half-baked story, we want both Sgudla and Xaba here in order for us to get the whole story,” Mamba said to rapturous applause.

Later on, Sgudla told the 013NEWS reporter over the phone that Xaba was actually a “front” and there was actually “a real board behind the bogus board”.

“I’m going to unmask all these people. Watch this space,” he said.

“Step by step. These are corrupt powerful individuals who Xaba works for and who are using Cosatu, the Law Society and a housing regulating body to make themselves filthy rich at the expense of poor and vulnerable working class people. That is why Xaba told those residents that he is reporting this to Refilwe Mtshweni and Speedy Mashilo.

“And that is why thousands of people tomorrow will be marching to the Neuhoff Khoza Attorneys to expose one of the law firm’s directors who is also part of the bogus and corrupt board that Xaba leads and is taking from vulnerable people,” Sgudla said.

On Tuesday afternoon this week, Sgudla told the eMalahleni radio station that some of these “corrupt people” were his co-shareholders at the Highveld Mall and that Xaba was the “last apple” he was going to deal with.

“People must not be nervous. We have the documents that give us the right that people cannot rent forever,” Sgudla said on the local radio station.

“We are protecting them against corrupt individuals, the bogus board led by Mr Xaba and we are here to unmask people and free the community from the corruption of these people,” Sgudla said.

(edited by ZK)

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