Housing development under siege by ‘military veterans’

Self-proclaimed military veterans are claiming ownership of the recently constructed Montrose City Development in Randfontein, a gold mining town in the West Rand.

The newly constructed homes, according to the so-called veterans, are a gift from the Department of Military Veterans, and anyone who is not a member of the group should leave.

Some military veterans are reported to have staged a dramatic act in which they broke into the unallocated houses and claimed ownership, claiming that their homes were being sold to unidentified people.

According to the Montrose website, at least 839 units would be built for military veterans by the end of the project.

Additional 8 000 units of social housing, bonded housing, and RDP houses will also be included in these mixed phases.

Megacity vision

A government complex, schools, theme parks, private and public healthcare, a college or satellite university, and extensive industrial development are just a few of the amenities included in the megacity vision.

The so-called veterans of the liberation struggle had also given the locals seven days to leave their homes before using force, but a local councillor, Alfred Thenjekwayo, intervened.

A letter purportedly written by the veterans reads: “With peace and harmony, [we] wish to inform you that the houses you have occupied belong to the military veterans.

“The Department of Military Veterans built them for former soldiers.

“The rightful owners of the houses have shown up and are here to demand what is rightfully theirs.

‘We, as military veterans, hereby ask you to vacate our houses within seven working days, starting Monday.”

A letter, which Sunday World has seen, introduces the group as legitimate military veterans from former liberation forces but has no letterhead from the Department of Military Veterans.

The Department of Military Veterans’ spokesperson, Lebogang Mothapo, stated that the names of the legitimate veterans were listed in the department’s database, and these individuals were given housing allocations.

“The Department of Military Veterans does not provide housing support to people who are not on the department’s database,” stated Mothapo.

“To our knowledge, people who applied and were approved for housing are on the department’s national database and have since been allocated houses.”

Break-ins to be investigated

The Montrose project is a mixed-use housing development designed to house a variety of people, according to Department of Human Settlements spokesperson Zandi Gamedze.

Gamedze stated that after investigating claims of residential break-ins by the so-called veterans of the armed forces, the department will forward the case to its legal and anti-fraud units.

She explained: “The initial number of military veterans’ houses was 173, but after rigorous consultation with the Department of Military Veterans, the number was reduced to 100 owing to the unavailability of the military veterans in the Rand West.

“The balance, 73, was converted into normal BNG/RDP stock and allocated to elderly and special case beneficiaries.”

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