Talks under way to move settlements

Nelson Mandela Bay municipal officials have started consultations to move 177 families from sewage-contaminated informal settlements near Despatch – nearly two months after they were meant to do so.

The municipality had earlier indicated in a report that it would start moving the families – about 1 000 people – on December 6, but human settlements assistant director Mpumelelo Seti said the relocations could not take place during this period as officials were on leave.

“We are resuming our consultations both internally and with councillor offices to ensure that we embark where we left [off] in 2014.

“On Friday, we consulted with councillor Mbongeni Bungane and we are trying to connect to councillor Francois Greyling. We want to work together in pursuit of our programme of service deliver y.”

Through a process of consultation, they would “do what is expected of us within [the] next week and onwards. We are still committed to the time frames that we set for ourselves but subject to realistic circumstances that would potentially confront us on the ground.”

Last year the Port Elizabeth High Court ordered the residents of Kriekie Valley, Moe Valley and Manshashe Village be moved to new land.

This followed legal action against the municipality on behalf of the residents after officials failed to clean the three toilets used by the community for more than four years.

In a progress report filed with the court last month, officials said the relocation of the Kriekie Valley residents was scheduled for between December 6 and January 30, depending on the circumstances of each family.

After reviewing the living circumstances set out in affidavits, the court ordered the provision of 25 chemical toilets for use by the communities until proper sanitation was provided and the residents could be moved to permanent housing.

– Estelle Ellis 

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