Councillor reassures residents

2018-12-11 06:00
Ward 56 councillor, Helen Jacobs, addresses residents at a meeting in Kensington on Wednesday 5 December.

Ward 56 councillor, Helen Jacobs, addresses residents at a meeting in Kensington on Wednesday 5 December.

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The housing project for residents of a Kensington informal settlement would go ahead as planned, ward 56 councillor Helen Jacobs assured the residents last week.

“The progress on the way forward with the housing is that it is an existing project – it definitely will happen,” said Jacobs.

She was addressing a meeting of the 6th Avenue informal settlement residents at the local civic centre on Wednesday 5
December.

For more than three decades, the residents have been waiting for houses. They say they are tired of officials’ “empty
promises”.

At the meeting on Wednesday, resident Koos Beukes gave the City and Jacobs an ultimatum: If there is nothing concrete by January 2019, the residents will embark on protest action.

“The people have had enough. It’s meeting after meeting and it’s always new faces and they promise us houses but it doesn’t help us because we still live (in shacks). We are feeling like dogs. We don’t want promises anymore, there must be improvement,” Beukes lashed out.

Although she did not have guaranteed timeframes, Jacobs assured the residents that work was already underway.

“We don’t have any finalised dates because things still need to be put in place … but we have the support of our new Mayco member (for transport and urban development, Felicity Purchase) – she gave us her support. We also have the support of the formal housing department – they are all working, the consultants are busy working on the project as we speak – the progress is there. Everything is in the working stage,” said Jacobs.

She told the residents there would be interim meetings with role players but that there would be a “big” meeting in January 2019 where “proper feedback” would be given to the community.

The meeting also heard crime concerns in respect of erf 25166, the piece of land in Maitland apparently set aside for housing development for some of the 6th Avenue families.

The residents complained about crime taking place in the area, and Jacobs called on all of them to take ownership of the land and look after it.

Poor service delivery concerns at the informal settlement were also discussed.

Residents complained that the City had sent just one person to clean toilets and that only one tap was available to the whole
settlement.

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