from page 1:No decency for squatter camp dwellers

2016-08-18 06:00
 Photo: andile sithole Rokmoney Govender cooks outside her tin shack in Riet River.

Photo: andile sithole Rokmoney Govender cooks outside her tin shack in Riet River.

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RESIDENTS of Riet River, Verulam say the city and government has neglected them for the past 20 years as they continue to live in appalling conditions without basic services.

Some residents have been living in a squatter camp for more than 30 years.

Rokmoney Govender (61), is a pensioner and has lived for more than 20 years in a one-room tin house with her daughter and granddaughter.

She told the Weekly she has to walk more than one kilometre to get water from a tap used by more than 300 residents.

”I am frail and I have to carry a 10-litre bucket­ of water every day. The officials have been making empty promises [for] 20 years and we voted for the ANC hoping our lives would change, but it never happened.”

Riet River is few kilometres away from the Cornubia­ housing project - a R25 billion project that was opened by President Jacob Zuma in 2014.

Residents claim that their applications to occupy flats at Cornubia housing project were rejected.

Another resident, Sorosathee Ramlal (72), has also been living in the area for more than 30 years without water and electricity.

“I have been living here for over 30 years and nothing has changed. Politicians have come and promised us RDP houses and other basic services, but nothing is happening. I pay R2 for a bucket of water every day. I applied to get a house in Cornubia in 2014, but until now nothing has happened,” she said.

DA PR councillor Chris Langa said that officials from Department of Housing will visit the area to assess the situation.

“I have received complaints from the residents in Riet River about poor service delivery.

“It is shocking to note that after 22 years of democracy we still have people who live in shacks. I will report this matter to the council and see how we can assist them,” he said.

The eThekwini Municipality­ Head of Communications, Tozi Mthethwa, said there were projects in place to assist dwellers from the informal settlements.

“eThekwini Municipality made a decision in 2002 to do away with the waiting-list approach tfor allocations of housing. As per the housing plan adopted by the council in 2011, the priority for the Breaking New Ground housing project is to address the needs of people living in informal settlements.

“All informal settlements in Durban have been assessed according to the suitability of the location for safe living environments.

“Informal settlements in Durban, which are located on land suitable for permanent housing, are being upgraded for formal housing. Greenfield projects like Cornubia have to accommodate residents from informal settlements that are in dangerous locations like on flood plains, under power lines or on steep hills. A percentage of these projects are also set aside for high priority cases,” she said.

Mthethwa urged the residents to be patient while the municipality is trying to assist them.

“The municipality has great sympathy for those who find themselves in need of housing, the City has a backlog of housing estimated at just over 400 000 units and cannot promise everyone­ that their needs will be met immediately. When opportunities are available in Greenfields sites like Cornubia, these will be advertised in the media.”

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