BCM may have ‘Red Ants’ to evict squatters

NEW BROOM: Andile Mshumpela is the new BCM general manager for housing planning and strategy Picture: SUPPLIED
NEW BROOM: Andile Mshumpela is the new BCM general manager for housing planning and strategy Picture: SUPPLIED

Newly appointed housing planning and strategy manager in the Buffalo City Metro’s human settlements directorate said he wants to tackle the metro’s housing backlog and wants BCM to enforce the “red ants” operation to remove land invaders.

Andile Mshumpela, 47, is starting on the job on Monday after he was transferred from the metro’s spatial planning and development department where he was the general manager for development planning.

He reports to the director of the department of housing who in turn reports to the municipal manager.

Mshumpela graduated with a master’s degree in land and property management development specialising in valuation on Monday from the University of the Free State.

He said he was ready to work towards the eradication of 154 informal settlements in BCM’s urban areas.

In addition to his experience, Mshumpela also holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, also from the University of the Free State.

Speaking to the Saturday Dispatch about his new position, Mshumpela said: “My role will be to plan and develop policies.

“My first task is to review the housing strategy plan and it will have its own implementation plan with budget allocation, list of houses and years of implementation.

“That will be a guiding tool for the implementing team to say there are areas to be developed and a plan. The plan that is currently in place was done in 2012, so now we need to review it in the next financial year.”

He said BCM’s top housing needs was the eradication of informal settlements in urban areas. “There are people who located themselves in places where there could be flooding, hazardous areas and under powerlines. We have categorised the settlements to say some will be fully relocated, others partially relocated and in-situ upgrades where we will be building for them in their areas,” Mshumpela said.

He also hopes to upgrade BCM’s current level 1 accreditation to level 2 to secure more budget allocation from the national Human Settlements Department and freedom to remove the “middle-man” human settlement provincial department.

BCM’s housing portfolio head Ntombizandile Mhlola said Mshumpela’s appointment would help assist the department perform better as it was faced with many challenges.

Mshumpela said to curb the land invasion problem the metro should enforce the “red ants” operation as implemented in Johannesburg to remove illegal invaders.

The red ants, a security firm hired by the City of Johannesburg, came under fire for the way in which they conducted evictions. — mamelag@dispatch.co.za

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