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Informal settlements on the rise in Bay
Residents living at the informal settlement in Malabar who has been waiting over 20 years for their houses. Pictured from left ar James Mamwell and Joanne Adams. Photo: KAILIN DANIELS

INFORMAL settlements, which have been mushrooming in the Nelson Mandela Bay, Metro are rapidly increasing as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) is currently battling with a housing backlog.

The NMBM confirmed that they have a backlog of 80 000 houses, while the Human Settlement Department within the municipality is dealing with the matter.

For a great number of residents in the metro, this means having to live in informal settlements while waiting for houses.

One such settlement is in Malabar, in Port Elizabeth, where residents are outraged by the municipality’s decision to relocate them to another site.

Netwerk24 reported earlier this year that residents claim the new area is infested with criminal activity and they fear for their safety. Residents said that the municipality is ignoring their cries for help for decent housing, despite the fact that some people have been living in dire conditions for more than 20 years.

According to an 83-year-old resident, James Mamwell, he was promised a house years ago.

“I’ve raised my children in these conditions and all parents want to give their children a safe and clean place.

“After years of applying for a house, I’m still waiting.

“When it rains, my whole shack is drenched in water,” Mamwell said.

According to municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, the backlog of houses and land has always been a serious issue and need for both South Africa and the metro.

Mniki added, “It’s true that the municipality currently has about an 80 000 housing backlog.

“Not all informal settlements in the metro receive services.

“Some are illegal informal settlements where people invade land.”

Mniki explained that in order for a resident to qualify for an RDP house in the metro, they must be either unemployed, indigent or be a child-headed family.

He said, “Provision of houses is for now a competency of the provincial and national Human Settlements departments.”

Resident Joanne Adams, said she constantly faced many hardships as a mother and dreams of giving her children a comfortable home.

Adams added, “Although we have been waiting for houses for years, we always try to deal with the negativity and face our problems head-on.

“For children to grow up in shacks is not what we wanted as parents and I hope the municipality will open their eyes and do something about our situation,” Adams concluded.

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