The police had to use rubber bullets as PRET members began blocking an EFF march in the area.
The Practical Radical Economic Transformation group of Mpumalanga may also be engaged in a fight for economic freedom for the majority of black South Africans but they are not friends with the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Thursday this week the group stood in the way of EFF members who were marching to the eMalahleni municipality to submit a memorandum of demands to mayor Linah Malatjie.
Led by provincial leader Collen Sedibe, the EFF headed to the municipality in order to complain about lack of service delivery, alleged corruption and nepotism when they met PRET members who were singing struggle songs on the street of the municipality and waiting for them.
“They will not pass here and go to the municipality. Let them go back,” one PRET member was heard shouting as the EFF approached and both groups began to mix in a confrontational way.
Cops had to intervene and form a human shield between both groups but when they could not be able to control the violent PRET group they began using rubber bullets, firing hard at PRET members.
Some PRET members during the stand-off with police.
The EFF had applied from authorities in order to stage the march to the eMalahleni municipality and the PRET gathering in front of the municipality building was illegal, one cop told the 013NEWS reporter.
PRET members began throwing stones back at cops, forcing CBD shops to close down as cops chased them with rubber bullets.
A vehicle from Weng Family Supermarket was torched by PRET members.
It is still not clear why the PRET members were disrupting the EFF march but one PRET member said the EFF were “coming late in order to take things from us”.
“There are a lot of issues we have been fighting for in this area and where was the EFF?” he said, “we are closer to achieve on those issues and the EFF is coming to hijack the issues,” he claimed.
Clad in their trademark yellow t-shirts bearing the face of president Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the group said they were there to “defend the municipality”.
Prior to their march, the EFF went to Dingindoda on Wednesday evening and told the tenants that they would help them in the fight between eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba and businessman Themba ‘Masofa’ Sgudla who is also the leader of PRET.
The men are in a brawl as a consequence of the Dingindoda rental housing area.
Emalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba has secured a court order for the arrest of businessman Themba Sgudla and his ally Bhuti Mamba for continuing to defame him.
Both Sgudla and Mamba will return to the Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg on 21 February 2019 to argue before Judge Segopotje Mphahlele why the order should not be made final.
It was secured by Xaba this week after both Sgudla and Mamba violated a 23 October 2018 court order prohibiting them from defaming Xaba and interfering with the lease agreement that the people of Dingindoda have with Xaba.
The high court judgement comes after Sgudla and Mamba convened a community meeting with the Dingindoda tenants on 7 November 2018 and labelled the 23 October court order “irrelevant”, saying they were now proceeding to give the tenants title deeds to own the public homes.
The Dingindoda issue is a subject of court contention between Xaba and Sgudla.
Sgudla says the area belongs to him through a piece of paper called ‘Land Availability Agreement’ he had with the eMalahleni municipality and this paper allows him to sell the public homes “to members of the public” and then pay some of the money to the municipality for the land on which the homes were built.
Formally known as uThingo Park, the Dingindoda rental area in eMalahleni.
But Xaba says the homes were built with government money and the Land Availability Agreement is invalid in that it purports to entitle Sgudla “to profit from the sale of social housing units built with public funds”.
Xaba also says in court papers that the price for which the municipal land is sold is far below the value of the land and in its aspect is a breach of the law governing social housing in South Africa.
Sgudla’s Anchorprops21 Pty Ltd, Demacode, the eMalahleni municipality, human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority are respondents in the matter being brought by Xaba against the Land Availability Agreement and to be heard on 13 May and 26 August 2019.
On 23 October 2018, both Sgudla and Mamba agreed in court that they would no longer tell the residents that Xaba was “stealing” the Dingindoda money.
But on 7 November 2018 the two returned to Dingindoda for a community meeting and violated the court order.
They told the residents that the relationship between Xaba and the tenants had now been “terminated” by Sgudla’s Anchorprops and were now proceeding with giving the public homes to the tenants for ownership.
The homes were going to be bought on a “instalment sale agreement”, they told the ululating tenants who the following day threw in a big party celebrating the announcement by Sgudla to give them the homes to own.
Again, on 10 November 2018, the two pulled down the uThingo Park signage outside the Dingindoda gate and replaced it with one written ‘Cyril Ramaphosa Family Village’ in a gathering attended by a score of Dingindoda residents who were singing struggle songs.
But a day later Xaba took it down. Days later the residents put the signage up again.
In her judgement, Mphahlele said it was “highly unlikely” that both Sgudla and Mamba didn’t know what they were doing on the 7 November meeting and that their failure to comply with the 23 October court order was “willful”.
“It is declared that the respondents are in contempt of the court order dated 23 October 2018,” the Judge said Tuesday this week.
“The respondents are hereby committed to undergo imprisonment for a period of 30 days. The period of imprisonment imposed on the respondents is suspended for a period of 1 year on condition that the respondents are not found to be in the contempt of the court order of 23 October 2018 within the period of the operation of the suspension,” Mphahlele said.
She had given the two the date of 21 February 2019 to come argue why this should not be made final.
Xaba rushed to court in a bid to stop the two PRET leaders from “causing harm” to his reputation.
The Tshwane high court sitting in Middelburg has postponed the defamation case against Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba.
Sgudla, who is President of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation non-profit group of Mpumalanga, and Mamba who is the group’s eMalahleni sub-regional leader, are being hauled into court by eMalahleni Housing Company boss George Xaba for statements that the two made on the Thursday afternoon of 27 September 2018.
Both Sgudla and Mamba addressed a community meeting at the Dingindoda settlement in Tasbet Park and ripped into Xaba for collecting R3.7 million from the public homes to “enrich himself”.
Xaba had brought an urgent court application to stop Sgudla and Mamba from saying that “I’m corrupt and enrich myself at the expense of the tenants”.
“They have made defamatory allegations of the serious nature,” Xaba said in court papers.
ALSO RELATED: George Xaba pays himself R1.3 million salary from Dingindoda rents
Xaba’s lawyer Andrew Brandmuller Tuesday this week said the matter will now go into the normal court roll after he had had an agreement with Sgudla and Mamba’s lawyer Matthew Kerr Phillips.
He told Judge Segopotje Mphahlele that the date of 4 March 2019 would be suitable for all of them as lawyers to come argue.
Xaba also wants the court to interdict Sgudla and Mamba from “interfering with the contractual relationship” between himself and the Dingindoda residents after the two told the residents to no longer pay rent – and were preparing the homes to be made rent-to-buy homes so that the vulnerable tenants “do not rent forever”.
Dingindoda residents in Tasbet Park, eMalahleni listening while Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba addresses them on 27 September 2018
“I know that most of you here no longer work for yourself but for your children,” Sgudla said, “and what will then happen to you if you lose your job or die and not able to pay rent? They will be kicked out,” he told the residents of their kids, saying the only option for them is to go through the process of rent-to-buy than being forced “to rent forever” by those who want to “enrich” themselves from their hard earned money.
In another court case, Xaba wants the court to review the Land Availability Agreement that makes Sgudla’s Anchorprops Pty Ltd in charge as a developer over the Dingindoda assets and surrounding land.
He argues that the Land Availability Agreement that Anchorprops and the eMalahleni municipality concluded on 20 March 2003 is “unlawful and invalid”.
George Xaba. 013NEWS/ZK.
The municipality actually owns the land and gave it to Anchorprops to develop the homes through the Land Availability Agreement document.
Xaba argues in court papers how the municipality and Anchorprops “purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto”.
Sgudla’s Anchorprops, Demacode, the eMalahleni municipality, human settlement MEC Norah Mahlangu and the Social Housing Regulatory Authority are respondents in the matter being brought by Xaba.
The Land Availability Agreement gives Anchorprops as a developer of the 1 300 units the powers to sell the Dingindoda homes “to members of the public” and also requires that the developer uses the money to pay the municipality money for land on which the homes were built.
But Xaba, who himself collects rent and does not give it to the municipality, argues that this is against the law because it wants Anchorprops to benefit from municipal assets and says it was built with public funds.
“On or about 10 December 2009, the developer instituted an application with a view to enforcing the terms of the Land Availability Agreement. This application was brought in the Gauteng Division of the High Court,” Xaba says in the court papers.
“When the municipality, eMalahleni Housing Company and the Mpumalanga housing department opposed the application and made counter application for orders declaring the Land Availability Agreement unlawful and invalid, the developer decided not to proceed with the application,” he said.
“On 30 June 2016, and unbeknown to the eMalahleni Housing Company, seven years after the municipality had opposed any attempt by the developer to enforce the Land Availability Agreement, the municipality decided to conclude a settlement agreement with the developer,” Xaba said in the papers.
“In terms of the settlement agreement the municipality purported to settle the 2009 application inter alia on the basis that the Land Availability Agreement was valid and enforceable and that the municipality would cooperate with the developer in giving effect thereto,” the court papers read.
The review applications will be heard on 13 May and 26 August 2019.
It was a march demanding the company’s director ends his relationship with the eMalahleni Housing Company.
A law firm accused of being at the centre of the housing crisis in the eMalahleni area has distanced itself from the alleged looting spree taking place at the eMalahleni Housing Company.
The Neuhoff Khoza Attorneys in Model Park suburb, east of town said they know nothing of corruption taking place at the public institution and that director Desmond Khoza told them that the housing company is being run “in an open and transparent manner”.
Khoza is a board member at the controversial eMalahleni Housing Company.
The eMalahleni Housing Company, a supposed government rent collecting agent, is led by embattled CEO George Xaba, whom the residents accuse of being opposed to the area being a “rent to buy” settlement because he wants to continue “enriching himself” from the R3.7 million that is collected monthly from the tenants.
Other than the embattled Xaba, the public company has six board members, including Hezel Zitha from the provincial human settlement department, Cosatu leader Thabo Mokoena and Khoza who is allegedly representing the Law Society.
Khoza has been serving on the eMalahleni Housing Company board since 2012.
Neuhoff Khoza Attorneys’ director Desmond Khoza.
In their memorandum of demand, the marchers said that the law firm “is the very same one that was paid the money to do the transfer of the very same land” to developer Themba Sgudla and then at the same time legally advised the eMalahleni Housing Company to oppose the transfer in court.
“This is prima facie evidence that this law firm is corrupt and complicit in grand corruption and stealing from the poor,” the memorandum reads.
“This law firm is the one enabling the corrupt individuals who call themselves a board of directors to continue to steal from the poor and enrich themselves from the suffering of the people of eMalahleni, who so desperately need shelter for their families,” it said.
Themba Sgudla and Bhuti Mamba addressing the marchers outside the Neuhoff Khoza Attorneys office in Model Park Thursday mid-day this week. PIC 013NEWS/ZK.
The marchers in their demands want Khoza to resign from the eMalahleni Housing Company board within a space of 24 hours and they also want the law firm to take “visible and tangible action” against Khoza “in the form of him being relieved from his position as partner in the firm”.
Marchers also vowed to picket outside the Chicken Licken franchises that the law firm owns across the eMalahleni area and even take the extra mile of going to the Bar of Attorneys “to demand that the firm and all its directors be struck of the Bar”.
But Henri Neuhoff, another law firm director, distanced the firm from the allegations.
He said Khoza has denied the allegations when they spoke to him and “firmly maintains that the affairs of the eMalahleni Housing Company are conducted in an open and transparent manner, and more specifically so for the benefit of the community”.
He said that he could not be in office on Thursday mid-day to receive the memorandum from the marchers as he was in Tshwane and didn’t “want to be involved in altercation”.
“I was away because I was busy in Pretoria and also I don’t want to be involved in the altercation of Khoza and the people,” he said when he spoke to the 013NEWS reporter Friday morning.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Members of PRET prevented EFF members who were marching to the eMalahleni municipality to submit a memorandum of demands to mayor Linah Malatjie. Choas ensued as the group engaged in running battles with the cops after refusing to disperse.