Partially constructed homes a haven for criminals – residents
Motherwell residents are demanding that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality demolish incomplete houses after the burnt body of 14-year-old Sinoxolo Beyi was found in one of the structures last week.
Dozens of angry NU29 residents took to the streets on Friday and marched from the unfinished duplex houses to the Motherwell police station to deliver a memorandum of demands.
Sinoxolo’s uncle, Thembalethu Beyi, 32, said the family was still in shock after the news of her death last weekend.
Police have since arrested a suspect, who is expected to make an appearance in the Motherwell Magistrate’s Court today.
“A friend of hers came to the house on Sunday morning asking if we had seen her, but we were surprised because we thought they were together,” Beyi said.
“We went out searching for her and we were told she was seen being dragged by a young man the night before.”
Beyi said they had noticed a group of residents next to the incomplete buildings.
He said most of her body was burnt.
Despite the tragedy, he said the family was relieved an arrest had been made.
The housing project has been idle for nearly three years as the budget is depleted and there were concerns the homes had become structurally unsound. The march was coordinated by a group of young women under the banner of Rise Young Women’s Club, a nonprofit organisation.
Rise member Ziyanda Mnqokoyi, 28, said the group was both angered and saddened by the incident.
“We organised this march because we would like to see violent acts against young girls stop,” Mnqokoyi said.
“We are especially sad because of the gruesome way that she died.”
The demands include that violence in the area be eradicated and that police patrol the area at night.
Ward councillor Morgan Tshaka said residents would vandalise the houses if the municipality did not remove them.
“The community believes that if those buildings were completed or demolished this would not have happened – and I agree,” Tshaka said.
He said the structures attracted criminals. “If nothing is done then this will happen again.
“We need the municipality to be forthcoming about what will happen with these houses.”
Human settlements political head Nqaba Bhanga said he had reported the matter to Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.
“We are very shocked and angry about what has happened, in particular in a place where we should be providing shelter for people,” he said.
Bhanga said the onus was on the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) to act.
“I am putting the blame on the NHBRC for failing to do something. I had a meeting seven months ago where we discussed the matter of these houses but this has happened because of their indecisiveness,” Bhanga said.
NHBRC spokesman Samkelo Gqeba referred all questions to national spokeswoman Molebogeng Taunyane, who failed to respond to questions by the time of going to print.
NU29 resident Nolutsha Ntshokomo, 40, said they no longer felt safe in the area since the attack on Sinoxolo.
“We are hurt by this, because we have children. My own child is 14 and I fear whenever she goes out to play,” Ntshokomo said.