Demand for better service delivery

2017-09-19 06:00
Residents of Skeemsaam informal settlement want better service delivery.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Residents of Skeemsaam informal settlement want better service delivery.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Fuming residents of Skeemsaam informal settlement in Grassy Park say they are fed up with poor service delivery. They are calling on local ward councillors to find solutions to improve their living conditions.

It has been more than a year since families settled on the open field, erecting shelters.

“When we moved here they promised us so much, but still, nothing has been given as promised. We want the councillors to come forward and hear our needs for water, electricity, bigger home spaces and toilets. We have to collect water from neighbours across the street, but they are now all closing their properties to us,” says one resident, Latania America.

According to an IOL report, the Western Cape High Court ordered in September last year that no further structures, apart from the 47 that were already there, were to be erected.

America says the families who were allowed to stay are forced to share 15 unhygienic toilets. “These toilets are way too few for the many families residing on this field. To add, the toilets have not been cleaned for weeks and are causing major illness amongst residents, including children. How do we make use of toilets in these conditions? We want our councillors to provide each family with at least one toilet each,” she says.

“We also need bigger shelter spaces than what we were given. We are not allowed to build our homes any further and it is really uncomfortable living in such conditions, because we can’t do much with it. We also requested a container for a soup kitchen for our people but they have not responded yet. They are never available for our meetings or just don’t show up as promised.”

Residents fear for their safety at night because there is no light on the field.

“When we moved here last year, this light in the centre of the field – the only light – was already off. Due to this we have discovered that our women and children are being robbed and raped in the dark. We also asked to have it repaired and requested a fence to be put up to protect us. When will our councillors start listening to us?”

According to ward councillor William Akim, a meeting with residents is set to take place this month.

“I personally arranged for a site meeting to occur on 19 September at 10:00. This meeting is set to address various issues and needs. I know that the area ward councillors are always checking in on the site to see what is needed and I have also previously had a problem with illegal activities and immediately addressed it with the residents,” he says.

“The City of Cape Town has provided the residents with water, sand pipes and 15 toilets as per the requirements for that area. These people also received first-aid kits, sanitation and necessary blankets and plastics in June this year to prepare for the winter season.”

Akim says he cannot comment on the housing issue as the case is still in court.

“The residents are not allowed to have extra structures as ordered and cannot extend the size of their homes. I have also received a message with regards to various requirements, including containers for a food kitchen. I have sent in a request for the container and received a response. These requests need to go through relevant departments and we are trying our best to provide to the residents,” he adds.

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