Residents still object to Sizwe housing project

Ward 81 councillor, Irene Rugheimer says residents will be consulted on further development on the Sizwe Development project and further condemn illegal dumping on the site.

Residents in Joburg east are still in defiance and objecting to the proposed Sizwe Housing Project planned in Sandringham.

The project, which has been put on hold since 2011, faces major hurdles with residents in the area citing various concerns.

According to the residents, the problem is the potential traffic the development will cause on Linksfield Road and George Avenue at rush hour, the graves and lack of green spaces in the suburbs.

In an email sent to North Eastern Tribune by Leonora Boer, a local resident and one of the main objectors, said the project will bring nothing but chaos.

Read: Residents encouraged to use Joburg Log and Look system

Boer questioned the access roads and the extra traffic that will possibly arise from this development adding that it’s not much fun now before any development.

“Who will be happy to know that their dwelling is built on a grave?” asked Boer.

“There are so few open spaces left for animals and bird life as well as for plants and grasslands…do we really have to fill up every available space.”

At the site, it is reported that there are thousands of graves of people who died of bubonic plague and illnesses such as smallpox, leprosy and tuberculosis.

According to Ward 81 councillor, Irene Rugheimer, the objections are mainly due to some people believing that these spores will be rejuvenated during excavation.

Rugheimer conceded that the development project has earned the wrath of historians and residents.

She said the City of Joburg’s policy is also to respect graves and not to build on top of them, however, she emphasised that the infrastructure around the property is old and would need to be totally upgraded.

Read: JCPZ faces tough legal battle to recover own land

“In actual fact, the plan is to build around the graves and fence them off. However, not all the graves have been accounted for,” said Rugheimer.

“While on site during the tribunal in October, the objectors pointed out that according to the plans presented to them, this was not entirely so. As for the issue of roads, we are fully aware that the current infrastructure will not handle the extra traffic – in the plans, provision has been made for better roads.”

The councillor agreed that there is a need for green space also but said the land does not belong to the City but to the Gauteng Provincial Government adding that they don’t seem to understand the need to retain green space.

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