Protestors demand ‘decent’ service

2017-02-21 06:01
Residents protested outside the subcouncil chambers in Fish Hoek. PHOTO: Lulama Zenzile/ Foto24

Residents protested outside the subcouncil chambers in Fish Hoek. PHOTO: Lulama Zenzile/ Foto24

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False Bay residents protested outside a meeting of subcouncil 19 on Tuesday.

In a call to action last week, residents from “Fish Hoek to Kommetjie and Noordhoek” were invited to peacefully protest against “the violent tearing down of people’s homes in Masiphumelele and demand that the people, who are in [their] employ, living in Masi, have decent sanitation facilities”.

The call to protest comes after provincial government took the City of Cape Town to task over poor service delivery in Masiphumelele, finding the City had broken environmental law (“‘Let’s rally for neighbours’”, People’s Post, 14 February).

A memorandum handed to subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase, who was given two weeks to respond, claimed the City was using party politics to delay basic services in Masiphumelele and continuing to demolish homes without providing alternative land for residents.

Purchase has responded that the City “does not use party politics to when it comes to service delivery”. “The City abides by the rule of law. Illegal land invasions will be dealt with by our anti-land invasion unit. All structures in Masi wetland are recorded. Building in an area, which is by their own admission a wetland and unsafe environment, is irresponsible and the people encouraging these illegal invasions should be ashamed of themselves,” she says.

The memorandum also stated that many homes did not have electricity, there was inadequate sanitation and public consultation had not taken place on the phase 4 housing project.

The City is in the process of addressing homes without electricity in the wetlands area, says Purchase. “The reality is that it is still a hydrological wetland and there is a substantial safety risk involved with electricity in waterlogged areas,” she says.

“The development of phase 4 has been underway for some eight years since the land was acquired. The community organisations have been involved in a steering committee representing various established organisations. This has also been reported at public meetings and feedback meetings.”

The memorandum went on to demand the City provide alternative land temporarily while people wait for housing and that officials be sent to connect residents to electricity within 10 days.

The memorandum also stated that the protestors supported a directive by provincial government to clean water canals in Masiphumelele.

“The sanitation issue is always a problem,” Purchase says. “We plan with the information we have. The wetland area is below sea level and we are constrained by what we can do there. We are piloting a project of raised ablution blocks above the canals because of the lack of space. This should help stop the vandalism, theft and cleansing problems.”

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