Burundi shack dwellers demand houses

2019-08-01 06:00
Fikiswa Xukashe standing in front of her flooded shack in Burundi Informal Settlement. PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

Fikiswa Xukashe standing in front of her flooded shack in Burundi Informal Settlement. PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

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Burundi Informal Settlement residents, in Mfuleni, are calling on the City of Cape Town to move them to a drier area.

They claim they are living under horrible conditions as their area was established on a wetland.

Resident Fikiswa Xukashe says during winter the area gets flooded. She accused local councillor, Themba Honono, of failing to do his job, something the councillor has vehemently denied.

“I have been staying in Burundi for 14 years. All these years we are suffering. We don’t have electricity and flushing toilets,” said Xukashe adding that many people in the area are using temporal toilets, while others relieve themselves in the wild.

She claimed in 2014 they were promised a move to a temporary relocation area (TRA) near Bosasa.

“Ever since I arrived here no one has ever relocated to a proper house instead people are relocated to the TRAs. I last saw our councillor came once while he was serving his first term came. Ever since he started his second term he never came here,” she said.

When City Vision visited the area on Saturday 27 July some shacks were still flooded, while others threw sand into their shacks to drain the water.

Another resident Luyanda Mbalu lambasted the City and threatened to abstain from voting.

“Our leaders only care about us when it’s time for elections and after that they forget us. Ever since it started flooding no one from the City came to check how we are living,” he said adding that all they need are the new houses.

Asked for comment Honono said he is on leave. However, he refuted the allegations that the residents of Burundi were ignored.

“We have been relocating people from Burundi to various areas in Mfuleni including to Extension Six and Bardale. But the problem the City doesn’t fence that area to prevent people from rebuilding the shacks there,” said Honono, adding that there will be some people that will be relocated when there is a new housing project.

He said the City is planning to electrify and install flushing toilets in that area.

“We can’t allow people to stay in an area without basic services. As leaders we are in talks with the City officials to speed up the process,” said Honono.

However, he didn’t specify when will the project start.

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