A group of Qaqawuli residents have distanced themselves from the recent shooting incident outside a Nelson Mandela Bay councillor’s home in which two security guards were wounded.
The two guards, whose names are being withheld for their safety, were shot outside Ward 16 councillor Xola Sabani’s house about a week ago.
The shooting followed months of death threats and office closures, with residents at one stage threatening to dump faeces on his office floor if he did not accede to their demands.
Sabani also received a letter on December 1 threatening violence.
Qaqawuli residents complained last year that no progress had been made in their area while building had already started in Silvertown, with services like water and electricity installed.
But the residents said this week they had nothing to do with the shooting.
“The people who shot the guards wanted to [steal] their guns. It is very sad that the shooting is now associated with Qaqawuli residents.
“We are not criminals. All we need is our own layout, our own sites and electricity,” group spokesman Mzikhulu Kweleta said.
Kweleta said Sabani and municipal officials had promised in November to respond to grievances.
“It came to a point where he [Sabani] decided not to take our calls or even respond to our messages. We [wrote] him a letter [asking] him should there be bloodshed in these informal settlements, or does he want to die before attending to our needs?” Kweleta said.
Another resident, Mawethu Sobekwa, said the letter was not intended to threaten Sabani, but posed a question.
“Our people were moved to Wells Estate, but we were surprised to see sites given to MK Silvertown residents. That is when we chased away the workers.
“We don’t have a problem with the [Silvertown] people, but if there is free land in the Qaqawuli area, preference should be given to Qaqawuli [people],” Sobekwa said. We have people who have been staying [in Qaqawuli] for years who are in need of houses. We also have kids who are old enough to get houses.
“Once everyone in Qaqawuli has a house, they can give the remaining land to MK Silvertown [people].”
Sabani said the land belonged to the government. There was one development plan for the two settlements.
“We [in Ward 16] want to see the development going on in both these settlements. MK Silvertown residents are working with us that is why the development has started in their area,” he said.
“If Qaqawuli residents [would] work with us, [it could] start in their area.”
– Yoliswa Sobuwa