Illegal homes rebuilt – yet again

Desperate Elephant Park residents tell Amir Chetty they simply have nowhere else to go

Defiant residents of the Elephant Park informal settlement at Wells Estate have begun rebuilding their homes for a third time after their illegal settlement was cleared by public order police in a pre-dawn eviction.

While construction of the makeshift structures continued yesterday despite the rainy weather, residents again spoke passionately about why they would not leave the area.

More than 200 residents were evicted early on Thursday when public order police enforced a high court order secured by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality earlier this year.

Trucks, bulldozers and police vehicles entered Elephant Park shortly after 5am to flatten the shacks.

Elephant Park resident Msutu Mfuka, 28, said the night had been very difficult for him.

“My family stayed with our neighbours but I spent the night in the rain. I slept on a carpet. The wind was blowing terribly, but what else could I do? I have nowhere else to go,” Mfuka said.

“What upsets me most is they take the materials we paid for with the little money we have.”

“So many promises were made – we were promised houses, yet we still have to live in shacks. What happened to those promises? We are also human beings,” a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

“I am 22 years old, I have no home, no job, and I am fast losing hope of things ever getting better. I matriculated two years ago and would have loved to study agricultural management.”

A 31-year-old father, who also declined to be named, vented his frustration at the lack of delivery when it came to housing.

“We are trying to build a home for our children. It’s not about us wanting to go against the government, we are just trying to provide for our families,” he said.

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