By: Staff Reporter
A Khayelitsha resident and prominent community leader has criticised the secret filming of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu last week. Minister Sisulu went to Taiwan informal settlement in Khayelitsha outside Cape Town on Tuesday (5 January 2020) to inspect damage to structures that were razed by a blaze recently, leaving 500 residents homeless. During the inspection, Sisulu was confronted by a man making unfounded accusations, leading to an exchange of words. The man, apparently a leader of an NGO called the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), recorded a video, which he later posted on social media.
Ndithini Tyhido, chairperson of Khayelitsha Development Forum, condemned actions of a self-styled community leader and member of SJC who gate-crashed Minister Sisulu’s meeting with residents of Taiwan and raised issued unrelated to the fire that destroyed hundreds of homes of Taiwan residents. Despite Minister Sisulu repeatedly warning the man to refrain from secretly filming her, the man disregarded the warnings, leading to a heated verbal exchange between him and the Minister.
The man falsely accused Minister Sisulu of ignoring the people of Empolweni informal settlement who were evicted from their homes last April by the City of Cape Town. In October 2020, Minister Sisulu gave an update in Parliament on what happened since she visited Empolweni. Minister Sisulu communicated that she had “requested the National Department of Human Settlements and the Housing Development Agency (HDA) to consult with and engage officials from the City of Cape Town in order to make sure that materials (that were seized) were returned as per a court order.”
However, based on consultations with the community, consultations that the man was not part of as he does not reside in Taiwan, the materials returned, were not suitable to reconstruct their homes. The City of Cape Town was then advised to provide affected households with “building kits,” which the Housing Development Agency (HDA), an entity of the National Department of Human Settlements had made available for distribution, which was refused by the City of Cape Town.
Addressing a meeting on Thursday (7 January) at Khayelitsha Training Centre between Minister Sisulu, City of Cape Town MMC for Human Settlements Malusi Booi, Western Cape MEC for Human Settlements Tertius Simmers and residents of Masiphumelele and Taiwan informal settlements whose houses were recently destroyed by fires, Tyhido, who said he was speaking on behalf of residents of Khayelitsha, said: “The nonsensical video making the rounds is not a representation of the people of Khayelitsha.”
“I speak here with authority that this needs to be debated with SJC as an organisation who cares. It is unfair for anyone to want to profile themselves and use the plight of the people whose houses were gutted by fire. It is completely nonsensical, it doesn’t deserve our attention at all as organisations,” said Tyhido.
“We are today getting reports that there are people who are sitting in a community hall in the middle of Covid-19 without food. Then some lousy attention-seeking boy goes around with a video on our behalf, and we reject this,” said Tyhido who was loudly cheered by the audience.