Plastic View residents promised development

Pretoria – The Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, Paul Mashatile, says government will develop Plastic View informal settlement in Pretoria East.

The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements released a statement following MEC Mashatile’s visit to the area with MMC of Human Settlement in the City of Tshwane, Joshua Ngonyama, and Special Advisor to the Premier, Eric Xayiya.

The visit comes after a fire left five people dead and hundreds of residents homeless in the area.

According to the department, MEC Mashatile has agreed with MMC Ngonyama to establish a long term plan to develop the area.

“… Obviously for now we need to respond to the immediate disaster to get some tents and blankets for people so that they do not get cold,” said the MEC.

He said that the land was close to the area where government can start preparing and that the City of Tshwane has appointed a developer so people can have proper sites and build proper structures.

“Beyond the disaster, we are moving forward to a future permanent development for the area,” he said.

He said government has set up a committee that will be headed by Ngonyama.

The MEC said that the committee will include the community of Plastic View, government officials from City of Tshwane, the Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements, the Department of Home Affairs, the church, rate payers associations from the area and Lawyers for Human Rights.

“I believe that if we have the entire stakeholders in one place, it is easy to plan. There will be no suspicions because everybody will be involved,” said the MEC.

MEC Mashatile said that it was important to have everybody as part of the committee in order to avoid the issue of some people going to court to stop development because they do not know what government is doing.

He said government will also appoint community liaison officers from the community in order to work close with the residents of Plastic View.

The MEC said that government was aware that most people in the area were foreign nationals and he told them that there is nothing to fear.

“We are not here to deport people, we want to document people. We want those who lost their documents to be helped. Going forward, we also want to know who is here, and if our policy does not allow you to get an RDP house, we will find other products like rental accommodation,” he said.

MEC Mashatile said the main aim of government is to have orderly development in the area and having a committee that reports to him weekly will help a lot.

The MEC said government was doing its best to manage the situation and also thanked the Department of Home Affairs, which helped in reissuing birth certificate and identity documents.

“The Department of Home Affairs is also issuing death certificates and will also reissue asylum permits after a verification process while the Department of Social Development has visited the area to do assessment of the situation,” said the MEC.

He said he was not happy that some people, especially women and children, slept outside in the cold because they did not want to leave their stands and go to the tents nearby in fear they might be taken.

All stakeholders will be invited to the committee’s first meeting, which is next week Tuesday, in order to find a long lasting solution to these issues.