Residents march for City demands

2017-05-30 06:02
Vrygrond residents march to the Seawinds municipal office, saying they should have services closer to them, such as a hospital, and government-subsidised school transport.

Vrygrond residents march to the Seawinds municipal office, saying they should have services closer to them, such as a hospital, and government-subsidised school transport.

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Vrygrond residents say it is time to correct the wrongs of the past and start developing their area.

They marched to the Seawinds municipal office to hand over a memorandum of their grievances to Eddie Andrews Mayco member (South).

The march was organised by the Vrygrond Community Development Forum (VCDF). One of their demands was that there be a dialogue between the City of Cape Town and the forum.

The marchers also say the number of residents in Vrygrond is increasing and their living conditions warrant more City services, such as houses, a hospital, a multipurpose centre, an old-age home, a training centre for practical skills, a business centre for small businesses, a police station, government-subsidised public transport for children from and to school, mediation between the two taxi associations and land for ­farming.

VCDF chairperson Mike Khumalo says Vrygrond is the oldest informal settlement in the province but is forgotten in terms of development.

“No-one seems to care about the bush as it was called in the old days. The Vrygrond people, for some reason not known to us, are seen as people who can’t think for themselves, who must survive on handouts. Some people use our area to make money through fundraising, claiming to represent us but then leave once they get rich, leaving Vrygrond and its people in the same condition. Some people will fight to maintain the status quo in order for them to continue looting resources for themselves,” he says.

Khumalo says their main concern is their belief that other people have been deciding what Vrygrond residents need for many years.

“We are ready to claim that space of leading and championing our own development in partnership with the City and other spheres of government. Most of the development in this area is through NGOs; our own government is neglecting Vrygrond. Any business opportunity by the people of Vrygrond is shut down by the authorities in an inconsistent way – along racial lines – and is causing division,” he says.

He believes crime in the area is caused by underdevelopment and poverty.

Nonkosi Fodo, VCDF secretary, says residents are deprived.

“Our children are turning to gangsterism at a young age because we don’t have a high school in Vrygrond. The only primary school we have can’t even cater for a quarter of our children. Parents do not have money to transport the children to other schools outside the area. The other challenge is that the different gangs in the neighbouring communities will not allow Vrygrond children in those schools. All this needs to be addressed and it will not be addressed until we take a step as the people who are affected by this,” she says.


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