The tenants want to go to war in order to get the homes to be rent-to-buy homes rather than “renting forever”.
EMalahleni Housing Company head George Xaba is being accused of turning people’s plight into a “money-making scheme”.
The residents of Dingindoda in eMalahleni are vowing they will fight Xaba and the eMalahleni housing company until the homes are no longer rental homes but “rent-to-buy homes.”
Dingindoda residents during the meeting
They say initially when the houses were being constructed they were told that they would be low cost rent-to-buy homes but through political and corrupt means the Dingindoda area was turned into “a money-making scheme” by the powerfuls.
The residents now are planning a march to voice out against this and they say they will no longer pay rent to the eMalahleni housing company until 1 January 2019 when the issue of the area being rent-to-buy homes is resolved.
Formally known as uThingo Park, the Dingindoda rental area in eMalahleni.
Another resident told 013NEWS that she has seen a lot of people being kicked out of the government area when they fail to pay rent, especially when they lost their jobs. “It is unfair this thing that is happening here, we are sick and tired of it,” she said.
They say the eMalahleni housing company, a government rent collecting agent, is the company evicting them from their homes and is being led by “cruel people”.
On Thursday last week, both the area’s developer Themba Sgudla and local activist Bhuti Mamba addressed a fully packed hall inside the Dingindoda area and told the residents that when they die their children will suffer because they will be kicked out once nobody was able to pay rent.
They told them that the public company is collecting over R3.7 million every month and all the money goes to Xaba and the other board members “who share it among themselves” and were using a public institution to get filthy rich at the expense of poor working class people.
“For how long are you going to rent in your own area? You are the people of eMalahleni and your are being put in Egypt by people who are not from the eMalahleni area,” Sgudla said to thunderous applause.
He told the residents that the reason nobody wanted the area to be rent-and-buy homes was because of the money that they make from it, making the lives of people earning between R4 000 and R16 000 “a misery”.
He accused the company’s board of being a “self-appointed bogus board” and that there was a real board behind it that exists and were going to war in order to “unmask it”.
“Some criminals want you to rent because it makes them filthy rich at your expense and they do not care whether you lose jobs and no longer able to pay, because they will be able to kick you out of the area just like that and we are here to help you move out of the situation,” he said, adding he was encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thuma Mina call, “that I wanna be there when people start to turn things around” for themselves and for the better.
“I know most of you here no longer work for yourself but for your children,” Sgudla said, “what will then happen to your children if you loose your job or die and not able to pay? They will be kicked out.
“From today please go to the bank and tell them to stop these people from deducting money from your account. That is your account and nobody should take money from it and if we find out that you continue to pay to these people you will regret,” Sgudla told the residents.
Bhuti Mamba (L) and Themba Masofa Sgudla (R).
They say those who will continue to pay rent will get evicted from the area by the other tenants who are also fed up of “renting forever” and was challenging Xaba to come evict those who didn’t pay rent and will see “how people start to turn things around” when they are faced with a difficult situation.
Asked for comment, Xaba said he would call a press briefing and explain everything to journalists.
He said everything that the community were being told was nonsense and is going to provide all documents to journalists as where the money goes.
He added the R 3.7 million that they monthly collect doesn’t go to the government but they as board members of the eMalahleni company use it “to invest back into the area”, maintaining the area.
“I have all the documents to prove how the money is spent. We pay security, we have put tarred roads in the area. We created 50 jobs and we pay salaries, not that we enrich ourselves from the money,” Xaba said, adding that those who wanted the area to be rent-to-buy homes confusing RDPs with CRU (community rental units) and they were given the mandate to collect rent by government in order to maintain the area.
He says the day for people to ‘take charge of their own destiny has been revealed to the people themselves’.
Thousands of people who are affected by the housing backlog in the eMalahleni area will not have to worry as eMalahleni businessman Themba Sgudla vows to meet government halfway in sorting out the issue.
Sgudla, popularly known as ‘Masofa’ or ‘Somahhashi’, launched his ‘Thuma Mina housing project’ at the Ackerville stadium, attracting scores and scores of people while declaring he would now compete with government in meeting the needs of poor people, saying without local businessmen doing so the society “will remain the same”.
He said he was particularly concerned that a lot of people in the eMalahleni area continue to live in backyard rooms without homes of their own.
Sgudla addressed a fully packed Ackerville stadium and said that seeing so many people attending his Thuma Mina housing project “signifies the crisis that you people of eMalahleni are faced with”.
“If we don’t start to turn it around now, our lives will remain the same,” the businessman told the crowds.
Over 9000 people attended the launch of Sgudla’s Thuma Mina housing project.
The Thuma Mina housing project will first begin by the launch of a community online database system called ‘Thuma Mina Human Settlement System”. Then he will begin building the houses “based on the demands” from his own pocket.
“We are opening a Thuma Mina housing project office in Klipfontein,” he said, “they are busy renovating it. We have suffered enough in this area and now it’s time to do it on our own without relying on government. I will build the houses from my own pocket for you to rent and buy. We have already bought the land. We want thousands and thousands of units for poor people to occupy in this area,” he said at the stadium.
At the stadium, Sgudla was a real crowd puller, touching issues that got the crowds going crazy.
“Comrades,” he said to rapturous applause, “we are here to launch the Thuma Mina housing project”.
“A project that will deliver houses to you because as a businessman I have seen that it will not help me to eat my money alone,” he said at the stadium.
“I will share it with you because when I’m dead my money will be eaten by criminals who won’t take care of you,” he said.
“You are my only hope and I will share my money with you because when I’m dead you are the ones who are going to bury me and you are the ones who will take care of my children,” the PRET President said.
“My job is to do what President Cyril Ramaphosa says we must do, thuma mina, I wanna be there when things start to turn around,” he said.
Sgudla told the crowds that there was a real problem with the housing system of Mpumalanga.
He said the government built homes without knowing who exactly needed to benefit from the homes and those homes ended up being occupied by “criminals who are not even in need of houses”.
He said the online ‘Thuma Mina Human Settlement System’ that he was busy developing at a cost of R1.5 million will allow poor people to apply for homes on their cellphones and they will get an sms reply saying “approved!”
He said it will be unlike the current situation where people relied on a ward councillor to get feedback on whether they would get their homes or not.
He told the crowds that the homes for the poor earning less than R16 000 and above R4 000 every month will be built in Spring Valley, Siyanqoba, Tasbet Park and Dhuva Park and these people will rent to buy – and within 10 years “you should own the house”.
He said he bought the whole land with millions and millions of rands to dedicate it to this specific project.
Sgudla said people who live in Dingindoda, a government low-cost rental settlement in the Tasbet Park area, will have to be forced out of the homes and be replaced with poor people.
Sgudla is not quite popular amongst other property owners because of his housing projects turning the Tasbet Park suburb into a township, depreciating the values of the houses in the area.
He said that he spoke to George Xaba, the CEO of eMalahleni housing company, and told him about the Dingindoda issue, that “those who can afford but are living in poor people’s houses must leave!”
“You are going to occupy those houses,” he told the residents, before taking a swipe at foreign nationals for turning the eMalahleni CBD into “something that we don’t know what it is”.
“I’m not xenophobic but I’m concerned that those people own homes here while you don’t and they use our sisters, they sell drugs, they destroy our area, we must attend to the issue urgently comrades,” he said, provoking thunderous applause from the crowds who then began singing struggle songs.