‘We will not leave’

Residents of the Intersite informal settlement may be moved off the land they occupy next to Maitland cemetery in Voortrekker Road, but some say they refuse to leave. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku
Residents of the Intersite informal settlement may be moved off the land they occupy next to Maitland cemetery in Voortrekker Road, but some say they refuse to leave. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Residents of the Intersite informal settlement in Maitland are worried about their future as they say City of Cape Town officials have been threatening to remove them from the land.

Their shacks are built close to the cemetery on Voortrekker Road.

There are fewer than 30 shacks in the area and there is a big open space which looks untidy, with long grass and bushes growing in between the shacks.

Residents say they have stayed there for more than 10 years and they do not want to leave.

One resident who did not want to be named says he likes to live close to the Cape Town CBD because it makes everything easy despite his poor living conditions.

He says most residents depend on piece jobs, and moving them away to the Cape Flats would result in fewer opportunities and poverty. He says those who agreed to be moved last year are already complaining about life in Langa.

“They come here looking for food in the bins sometimes. You can see they are starving. The municipality is not helping them with anything. I cannot allow that to happen to me. I am not going anywhere,” says the resident.

Bring servicesAnother resident, Denvel Pigland, adds: “We don’t want to be moved. They must provide us with services here. These shacks are our homes.”

The residents say though they live close to suburbs they are not treated as equals to the residents in those suburbs. They say they are neglected by their councillor.

Ward councillor Helen Jacobs confirms that City officials have already moved some people and the remaining few are on the waiting list. She says the process is underway, though she could not say when exactly they would be moved or what plans there are for the land.

She says the area they live in is a graveyard and some of it belongs to Prasa.

Jacobs explains that Maitland and Kensington no longer have land left for housing, that’s why the Intersite residents were moved to Langa and other areas.

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