Operations to get Imizamo Yethu back on its feet being fast-tracked, De Lille following protests

2017-07-04 14:23
Imizamo Yethu residents in Hout Bay during recent protests for service delivery. (Tammy Pietersen, News24)

Imizamo Yethu residents in Hout Bay during recent protests for service delivery. (Tammy Pietersen, News24)

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Cape Town – Operations to ensure that fire-ravaged sections of Imizamo Yethu, Hout Bay, have easy access to basic services are being expedited following protests in the area, mayor Patricia de Lille said on Tuesday.

A new programme management team has also been appointed to oversee all City of Cape Town operations in the area.

De Lille announced this on Tuesday, after three days of violent protests in the area which saw vehicles overturned and set alight, windows smashed and corrugated iron from shacks carried into roads to block traffic.

In a statement, De Lille said that at a meeting, which continued until Monday evening, community leaders recommitted to re-blocking plans for Imizamo Yethu.

Re-blocking is a process where roads are established in informal settlements to ensure basic services and to ensure emergency vehicles can easily access the area.

"Together with the community leadership we agreed that we are going to accelerate re-blocking across three areas [Madiba Square, the Shooting Range site and Donste Yakhe]. We will work in all three areas at the same time," De Lille said. 

In March, following a massive fire which gutted  4 500 homes, residents were asked not to move back into burnt areas to allow for the city to re-block these first. 

Residents were temporarily moved onto a nearby sports field into three-by-three-meter congregated iron structures.

This sparked frustration over poor living conditions.

Damage caused

In the statement on Tuesday, De Lille said there was no justification for the violence which took place during the protests. 

Some of the damage incurred included the destruction of a site office, contractor equipment which was destroyed and the petrol bombing of a sewerage pipe, she said. 

"The people of Imizamo Yethu cannot afford these kinds of setbacks. We have said from the outset that we have to work together to ensure the people receive the services they need."

Western Cape Emergency Services said one man was seriously injured when he sustained a gunshot wound during the protest action. It is unclear whether the shot was fired by protesters or law enforcement officials. 

Western Cape police said four people were arrested for public violence. 

On Monday morning, community leader Nosicelo Mtakatana told News24 residents were protesting because they believed the city failed to re-block Imizamo Yethu within a promised three-month period. 

"When it’s raining, the rain is coming in these three-by-three shacks. Me, I’m staying [with] five [people] in that three-by-three," a distressed Mtakatana said. 

"That thing [the shacks] is not nice because sometimes we don’t have electricity [and] we are using paraffin. That paraffin is affecting our kids."

Speaking to residents on Monday afternoon, De Lille said she understood their frustrations. 

"We have said to you in the past, we are trying to rebuild and re-block people living on the mountain and it has been difficult," she told community members.

Read more on:    patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  service delivery  |  protests

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