'People Must Come before Houses'

Article excerpt

BYLINE: Quinton Mtyala

A DAY after the ANC called for his head, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela insisted his reply to a question on the province's housing backlog had been taken out of context.

"Unfortunately, we no longer have influx control to regulate the movement of people into Cape Town," Madikizela has said.

However, his point, he said, was that with the province's housing challenges and a backlog of almost 500 000 units, "we can no longer play politics".

Madikizela had replied to a question from ANC MPL Pierre Uys about the steps the DA administration had taken to solve the housing backlog in the Western Cape.

Although the analogy had seemed insensitive, especially for a black man, Madikizela says he knows all to well about being a migrant.

He arrived in Cape Town via Bizana, in the old Transkei, 16 years ago after being |forced out of his hometown, Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal, by political violence between ANC and the IFP supporters in the early 1990s.

He said Khayelitsha, the |township where he still lived, was an example of what happened when urban growth was not properly planned.

"Khayelitsha's bulk infrastructure was designed for |250 000 people. It's now estimated that there are over |750 000 people living in Khayelitsha, and the bulk services are under enormous pressure. That's why drains are often blocked and water spills on to the streets," Madikizela said .

Until 2006 he was a member of the ANC, but fell out of favour during the process of nominating councillors for the local government election.

He had been part of a faction that supported Ebrahim Rasool in his battle against the victorious faction, led by Mcebisi Skwatsha, at the ANC's fractious 2005 provincial |conference.

The provincial government's new plan for housing, unveiled last week, was based on the limited resources |available.

"There is a disturbing trend from our colleagues (in the opposition benches), suggesting that all solutions should come from government.

"There are rights and obligations… people should take responsibility. …