Concern over RDP houses converted into spaza shops
Councillors have asked the department of human settlements for a comprehensive report on how many spaza shops there are in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The request came at a human settlements committee meeting on Friday as the department proposed tariff increases for applications for house shop fees.
During the meeting, DA councillor Trevor Louw said he felt a lot of communities depended on those shops and with the proposed increases, he felt people were being victimised.
“An official from the municipality must give us a report on how many house shops we have in the metro, owned by both foreign nationals and South Africans.
“It’s important to know how many RDP houses have been demolished and turned into house shops and we need to stop this immediately,” he said.
Louw said many people sold their RDP homes to foreigners before getting themselves placed back onto housing lists.
He believed getting details about RDP homes that had been sold to shop owners would prevent the practice from taking place.
ANC councillor Sizwe Jodwana supported Louw’s call for a report on how many spaza shops there were to “stipulate how many house shops we have so we can be able to have a clear picture of who is doing what”.
Senior director for land planning and management Schalk Potgieter said the city could live with lower fees but said he was concerned about the request to tally up the number of house shops, calling it a mammoth task.
Human settlements portfolio head Nqaba Bhanga said the request was an issue for economic development and not necessarily of town planning.
“We can provide information on how many people applied to do business in the metro,” he said.
It was decided that tariffs would remain at the current rate.