Residents of Philippi informal settlement demand electrification

2018-09-17 18:35
Protesting residents from Ethembeni in Samora Machel march down OR Tambo Drive to the office of ward councillor Sithembiso Mzobe to demand electrification for their shacks. (Vincent Lali, GroundUp)

Protesting residents from Ethembeni in Samora Machel march down OR Tambo Drive to the office of ward councillor Sithembiso Mzobe to demand electrification for their shacks. (Vincent Lali, GroundUp)

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Dozens of shack dwellers marched to their ward councillor's office to demand electrification in Ethembeni, Samora Machel on Friday.

Samora Machel is a township in Philippi, Cape Town.

According to GroundUp, the protesting residents marched down OR Tambo Drive to Weltevreden Valley Hall where the office of ward councillor Sithembiso Mzobe (ANC) is located.

They sang songs and waved placards that read: "Mzobe, prove your leadership", "We voted for nothing" and "We want electricity".

"Do you know where Ethembeni is?" community leader Siyabulela Lali, who led the protest, asked Mzobe. "I spoke to your assistant the other day and she didn't know where Ethembeni is."

"We want you to make a commitment that you will ensure that we get electricity soon," Lali told the ward councillor.

Mzobe said the "right place" for the residents to hand over their memorandum was the City of Cape Town offices at the Civic Centre.

But residents responded: "Take the memorandum to the City yourself."

Lali explained that residents settled in Ethembeni informal settlement in 1997 already but they still didn't have electricity.

He said residents, mostly poor and unemployed people, spent hundreds of rands a month on illegal connections to houses located about 300 metres away.

"Other informal settlements have communal taps, why don't we have them?" one resident, Nomthetho Mabuya, asked.

Another resident, Nomzamo Vimbi, said the community wanted the City to put in flush toilets.

"We are so tired of the smelly and sweltering chemical toilets that we sometimes choose relieving ourselves in the bushes."

Mzobe said he would arrange a meeting with the community leaders to discuss the issues.

He explained that shacks were clustered too closely together for the City to install communal taps and flush toilets. He also said the land was meant for road construction.

Weeks before the protest, resident Monica Notshokovu said living without proper electrification was hard. She has a 5-year-old disabled son who is incontinent. She has to use cold water to clean him.

"When I bathe him with freezing water, my heart breaks," she said.

She lives off a disability grant because she can't leave her son alone to go out in search of work.

Mayoral Committee Member for Area South, Councillor Eddie Andrews, said Ethembeni was located on Prasa-owned land.

"The City is in the process of preparing a 'bulk submission' to request permission to electrify a number of pockets located on Prasa-owned land, including this one," he said.

"The City must first get permission from Prasa to install electricity connections," he said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  service delivery

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