Cape Town – Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe has expressed shock and heartache at the living conditions in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
The minister was addressing an imbizo in the area on Friday, which was part of a feedback session from a meeting with the community in 2013.
Addressing the poorly attended imbizo, Radebe said he had gone around the area before coming to the venue and what he had seen had shocked him.
"It is really bad. The mud is overwhelming. The shacks I saw, I don’t know how people here sleep at all," he said.
Speaking in isiZulu, he said it was clear that the Western Cape and Cape Town governments had not seen first-hand the conditions in which people lived.
He said they did not speak of the area as if they knew that people were living in squalor.
He made an example of a resident he had talked to earlier, who lived with nine other relatives in a one-room shack.
"Even the toilets that I saw. Shocking. This is not on, there has to be change for the better. Umoya wam wophukile (my spirit is broken)," Radebe said.
He said the ANC was committed to working with the community and the government to get service delivery moving in the area.
He called on the community to vote for councillors who they knew would take their plight forward.
Long struggle for housing
Radebe said the Western Cape government had refused help from national government to address housing, but intervention was needed.
One by one, residents told Radebe of their hopelessness and how they felt they were being punished by the Western Cape government.
They detailed their long struggle to get housing.
Some mentioned the dangers they faced when going to the toilet, which are sometimes almost 1km away from their homes.
Earlier this year, teenager Sinoxolo Mafevuka was raped and strangled in a toilet in the area.
One resident told the minister that even the ANC forgot about them in the Western Cape.
"You tell yourselves that these people vote for the DA anyway, and we really don’t."
Radebe called for better communication with the community.
A community leader from Mfuleni, gave details of living in modified shacks, which are temporary residences.
Radebe was accompanied by ANC regional and provincial leaders, including PEC member and Ses'khona leader Andile Lili.