Residents split over continuing closure of complex in housing row
It has been nearly five years since the Red Location Museum shut its doors following clashes between the municipality and residents over housing.
The stalemate is nowhere closer to being resolved and, instead, the onceprized museum is deteriorating daily and residents have added more demands before they will allow the municipality to reopen the centre.
Red Location resident Thando Msikinya was adamant that as long as the municipality did not meet their demands for rectification of phase two and the building of RDP houses in Block 40, no museum would be opening.
Msikinya said a line had been drawn in the sand and heads would roll should anyone try reopening the museum without the residents’ consent.
“While we’re still living like this here in Red Location, that museum will not open. We have no problems bringing it down. Any time is tea time for us but so far we have been peaceful, engaging with the municipality, so people must not come and provoke us.”
Nhoyi Makana said he was one of the people waiting for rectification from the municipality.
“Why would I ever agree to have my house reduced from 48m² to 40m²? We have documents from province approving rectification,” Makana said.
Nelson Mandela Bay human settlements political head Nqaba Bhanga previously stated that former human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu had stopped rectification of RDP houses in South Africa and there was no money budgeted for rectification of homes.
Meanwhile, another group from Red Location want the museum open, saying children are missing out on the digital library as well as the museum.
Luvuyo Ngxovu said he wanted the museum to open so children from the neighbourhood could benefit from it.
“There’s a gallery in there that local artists can use to exhibit their work. There is a digital library that’s never been open that school children could use, and there’s a museum,” he said.
Red Location resident Pandle Mfengu said reopening of the precinct was long overdue and, by its closure, local people were deprived of possible work.
Mfengu said the vacant precinct was attracting criminal activities instead of building the community up.
“You find young people sitting there at all hours of the night doing unsavoury things.”
Mfengu said those who were fighting the rectification policy should do so in court and not hold the rest of the neighbourhood to ransom.
Mayoral committee member for sport, recreation, arts and culture Siyasanga Sijadu said she had met residents last month who wanted the museum opened, but the municipality still needed to deal with those who wanted rectification.
“We are hopeful it will open because it is an asset that is needed even by those community members who are using it as a bargaining tool,” Sijadu said.
Bhanga said plans were afoot to relocate residents from Block 40.
When asked how much the Red Location Museum was costing the city monthly, municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki, said that, due to its closure, there were no operational costs incurred.
“Some of the Red Location staff are placed in other facilities where there is a need according to their skills.
“All of them are doing municipal work within the sub-directorate,” Mniki said.