Kliptown: Illegal connections and cable rife in historic area

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Illegal connections in Kliptown, Soweto.
Illegal connections in Kliptown, Soweto.
Ntwaagae Seleka
  • Kliptown, the place where the Freedom Charter was signed in 1955, is deteriorating by the day.
  • The historic suburb in Soweto, is being stripped of its infrastructure such electrical cables, water pipes, and paving bricks.
  • The City of Johannesburg has promised to restore the place to its former glory.  

Squalor conditions at one of the most historic suburbs in the country, Kliptown, continue unabated.

The place where the Freedom Charter was signed in 1955, is now a shadow of its former self.

Electricity theft, littered streets, water leakages, and raw sewage are some of the problems the area faces.

Power cables at the nearby informal settlement are running on the ground, and others are hanging from houses.

Some cables are hanging from wooden poles and steel pipes and are exposed to young children who play near; and beneath them.

Raw sewer and water are also running over pavements, posing hygienic threats to residents.

The horrific scenes were witnessed by City of Johannesburg officials led by City of Johannesburg Mayoral Committee for Environment, Infrastructure and Services, Mpho Moerane, and his entourage on Monday.

READ | 'Every day is the same. Christmas or not is the same to us' - no celebrations for Kliptown's homeless

Moerane said he was shocked at how the historic place was neglected by City employees.

Moerane promised to meet with senior leaders of the City, including Mayor Geoff Makhubo, to restore the place to its former glory.

"We are here as part of Kleena Joburg Reloaded campaign. We have found that the place is neglected and vandalised. Rampant vandalism has taken place and there hasn't been any service delivery.

"I am going to speak to my colleagues in the City including mayor Geoff Makhubu about the status of this place. It is wrong and unacceptable to see what is happening here. We have the responsibility as the City to fix this place. We are supposed to be taking care of this place," said Moerane.

Moerane blamed officials for neglecting Kliptown.

"We are going to ensure that people with relevant skills are deployed to manage this place. It is unacceptable that this place can go [sic] to such a state when it is a very iconic centre in the City. We are also experiencing high loss of water and electricity in Kliptown," Moerane said.

Moerane said illegal connections and cable theft, are not only experienced in Kliptown, but across the City.

"This weekend alone, three people died due to illegal connections in Johannesburg. We have also arrested suspects on Saturday. We have requested our group forensic investigations unit to form a team that will fight the scourge of illegal connections.

"We are losing money. Since 1 July 2020, we have lost over R14.4 million to date, due to illegal connections and cable theft. We call upon communities to work with us to bring law and order. We will enforce by-laws as the City. The City has deployed 10 JMPD officers per ward to enforce by-laws and prevent vandalism of government properties," said Moerane.

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