‘We won’t vote’

2019-02-19 06:01
Residents say they are not happy with illegal connections, but it’s the only option they have.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Residents say they are not happy with illegal connections, but it’s the only option they have.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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“N

o service delivery, no votes during the 2019 national elections.” Those were the words of frustrated Dontse Yakhe and Shooting Range informal settlements fire victims.

This was first stated by a community leader, Clifford Nogwava, during a committee meeting held in Hout Bay Library on Tuesday 12 February.

The sentiments ware later confirmed by residents who said they have been patient with the City of Cape Town for too long.

These are residents who lost everything in fire in March 2017, destroying even structures of services that were previously installed in the area.

The City has since proposed super-blocking for the entire Imizamo Yethu community, but there is reportedly some controversy with the community being divided into groups, with some supporting the idea and agreeing to temporarily move to a nearby land to allow the proposal to be implemented. However, the alleged non-supporters got stuck in destitute living conditions.

Projects were then named and Dontse Yakhe and Shooting Range were referred to as Road One.

As part of the project, the City then built 14 roads along street lights for the supporting area living out the other side, now referred to as Road One project.

Since then, Zioni Sigcau says, life has been a struggle without service, living in the dark without electricity, walking long distances to get water and visit toilets and even just meet their basic needs.

He said that in a recent meeting they had a community, they collectively took a decision not to vote because the government has not served them.

Sigcau said the City has failed them since the fire and plans for super-blocking were prematurely botched as the City never provided them with proper land to temporarily move to during the construction.

He says they have never been against the idea, but they needed land to move to.

“You cannot just tell people they need to move for services to be delivered but not offer them places to stay. Where are they going to go? Anyway, it is now too late to be talking about that, we want the City to install services the same old way it did before the fire. We had all the services here but now they say they are unable to install them!”

“It is not a secret that people are doing what they can to make lives easy for them but that’s too risky. We do not want any fire incident again. The only way to prevent that is through legitimate services.”

Sigcau says this referring to illegal electricity connections that looks like hundreds of spider thread intersections above the informal settlement.

The connections are linked to a nearby Imizamo Yethu informal settlement.

Another resident, Hloniphile Mchwayi says the conditions they live in are a health hazard, especially to children and elderly people.

They do not have toilets and people relive themselves within the community. Dirty water is thrown in between the shacks as there is no sewerage infrastructure.

Malusi Booi, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Human Settlements the City acknowledges the issues.

He says: “The City remains utterly committed to seeing this process through that will enhance the living conditions of our people.

“This is an intricate process, which includes a legal process and community dynamics. The City must follow due diligence. This community has seen the commitment that the City has towards it, and it continues to follow all avenues to expedite the process. Engagements will continue.”

Rob Quintas, the ward councillor, says this is an on-going issue which is now dealt with in court.

He said assessments to determine a way forward in terms of development has would be performed.

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