Gauteng government uses dolomite as reason to evict

By Mengi Deedee, CORC

Dolomite is a reality that South Africa is facing. Some cases of dolomite are found in Johannesburg as well as in Ekurhuleni. Moray who is a lawyer working at Weber Wenzel has heard from Maryna, a researcher at GCRO (Gauteng City-Region Observatory) that Andre is doing a study on dolomite in Kathehong, more specifically at Thusong. Moray is defending residents of Protea South who are facing eviction from the City of Johannesburg. The aim of his visit at the CORC office of Johannesburg was to collect information about what is happening in Thusong and find a way to defend residents of Protea South. In fact, the community of Protea South is facing an eviction order, and they may return to CORC in the following days.

Moray, Bro Max and Andre were joined by Msibi who is a community leader of Thusong. He came to inform us about the current situation of Thusong related to the dolomite and the negotiation with the Municipality.

The conclusion reached by Moray was that the situation of Thusong is similar to the situation facing Protea South. In fact, between 2005 and 2006 residents of Thusong were relocated to Zonke extension 3 and 6. Thusong has two different zones. One zone is qualified as low risk. Zone B constitutes a high risk in relation to dolomite. Residents were evicted from the low risk area to be relocated to the medium risk area. Presently, housing development (RDP houses) is being developed at Zonke extension 3 and 6. In Protea South, people who are facing eviction are living in medium risk in relation to dolomite. If the government can develop the medium risk zone – as it is possible to build on high risk of dolomite provided some precautions -, the decision to chase people from medium risk areas seems unfair and anti-poor.

After the exchange of what is happening in Thusong and Protea South, the question that was arisen is how to build more houses in low risk areas of dolomite. In fact, the study of Thusong and Protea South recommended to build only 18 houses per hectar. This means that with that instruction, it will be difficult to accommodate everyone.

At the end of the meeting, Moray suggested to meet with Maryna to plan a common action that will guide us to deal with dolomitic situations. Metro has made up its mind and it is not willing to discuss its position or to consult other stakeholders about dolomitic situations.   This gives the impression that Ekurhuleni Metro is more willing to consult than Johannesburg. The conclusion that was drawn is that the government should be clear if it can’t afford to build or to develop low-cost housing. Dolomite becomes a very good reason for the government to refuse to develop a given area.