News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday July 16th 2019

ANC members prevent backyarders erecting headstone for housing list grave


Backyarders calling themselves the Gatvol Crisis Committee marched down the street in Khayelitsha before symbolically burying City of Cape Town documents related to the housing waiting list in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, today. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

After symbolically burying a City housing list in Makhaza last week, the Gatvol Backyarders Crisis Committee were prevented by ANC members from erecting a headstone on the ‘grave’ on Sunday.

However, the backyarders, who come from Brentwood Park, Amsterdam, Semareng Farms, Khayelitsha, Malibu Village and West Bank, today vowed to continue with their plans but shifted the unveiling of the headstone to the yard one of their members lives in.

Last week Monday the Gatvol Crisis Committee, affiliated to the United Democratic Front (UDF), symbolically buried a City housing waiting list, saying the list was defunct.

Over 100 members signed a petition denouncing the City’s housing list while about 20 backyarder leaders buried the list in Makhaza 40 section.

According to the GCC, a group of people claiming to be ANC members informed them they could not unveil the grave on Sunday.

Raymond Mtati, convener of the Social Economic Environmental Board (SEEBO), said members of the ANC stopped them from putting a headstone on the grave.

“We made it clear from the first that we are not a political party but a group of people who are tired of the City of Cape Town’s housing list system because it no longer works,” said Mtati.

“We told people that we are gatvol, that’s why I do not understand why the ANC members stopped us.”

He said when they asked people in the community to assist in erecting a headstone members of the ANC asked if the ward councilor, Mpucuko Nguzo, was informed.

“They said if the ward councillor is not aware of the unveiling then we must stop.”

Gatvol leader in Makhaza Samson Ntwanambi said the matter had nothing to do with the ANC.

“This initiative came from the backyarders who are tired of waiting for houses.  The ANC cannot stop us, if they do not want the grave where we symbolically buried the list, we will exhume it and bury it next to our shacks, then the councillor or any ANC member will not have a say.”

ANC ward 95 councillor Mpucuko Nguzo said the places the backyarders were living was in the “pipeline” for development.

Nguzo said once urban renewal started a “proper place” would be found for the backyarders.

“We were all surprised when we were told that they buried the city housing waiting list system.  None of the community leaders were informed about that. These people are playing with vulnerable people, some claims that they paid R20 to this gatvol crisis committee,” he said. – Nombulelo Damba

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