A hidden life among pipes, rubble

2015-07-14 06:00
The entrance to a hidden informal settlement just off Strandfontein Road is strewn with dirty debris. The fifteen residents currently living here have not had access to basic services for more than a decade.

Chevon Booysen

The entrance to a hidden informal settlement just off Strandfontein Road is strewn with dirty debris. The fifteen residents currently living here have not had access to basic services for more than a decade. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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A hidden informal settlement has been discovered by the Georgie’s Angels organisation.

The settlement, found just off Strandfontein Road in Lansdowne, has been around for longer than a decade but has gone unnoticed by many.

According to Georgie’s Angels spokesperson Lynne Anthony they learnt of the settlement just over a month ago.

Horrid conditionsGeorgie’s Angels took their soup kitchen to the settlement, which has since been dubbed ARD.

“The last time we tallied there were only 15 people living here. But they live in horrid conditions and we cannot have them live like this,” Anthony says.

The settlement is hidden behind an industrial area. It is nestled between steel pipes and rubble.

“They do not have electricity or any running water here. It’s terrible.”

Ward councillor George March says the area is dangerous, because it is difficult to access and residents have no basic services.

“We want to move them from this area and they say they are willing to move. You cannot have a place where people have been living for more than 10 years and they have no running water. Their ablution facilities leave much to be desired,” March says.

Nowhere else to goResident Dennis Tibisono has been living in the settlement for 10 years. He says they moved onto the piece of land after they were employed to look after the property of a previous employer.

“We have nowhere else to go so we decided to keep living here,” he says.

He adds the area is unsafe because the police do not patrol there. “Very often we have gangsters come over from Hanover Park and rob us here. They know we live here so they have stolen things likes pots, clothes and metal sheeting from our shacks. It’s very unsafe,” he adds.

Another resident, Stanford Hlaliso, has been living there for more than 10 years and says their living conditions are not desirable. “But we don’t know what to do anymore. We just continue living and getting by on the little we get,” he says.

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