Backyarders to light up soon

Backyard services not initially planned for Hanover Park are set to be installed over the next few week.

This after backyarders were promised services would be installed by October last year, says Hanover Park Backyard Dwellers Organisation chairperson Ricardo Sedres.

He says that to date only a few homes have been equipped.

“I liaised with the City of Cape Town last year via email and was told that the project that started in Hanover Park during 2013 would be completed by October last year. However, this is not the case – the work has still not been completed,” Sedres says.

He explains residents in Silica Walk are still waiting for electrical boxes and ablution facilities to be installed.

“We need clarity from the City confirming what the delay is with rolling out these basic services to residents. There are still people waiting for complete ablution facilities as well,” he says.

According to Sedres, enquiries regarding the project proved unfruitful when he followed up on it.

“I sent emails enquiring why some backyard dwellers were not yet equipped with basic services. At first I was told they were waiting for the budget to come out, which it already has, but still no answers or feedback to this day. I was also told that Silica Walk formed part of another ward which was not under the jurisdiction of that particular project,” says Sedres.

Mayco member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, confirms the project started the roll-out during January 2013.

“The project to provide electricity services to backyarders reached practical completion in the 2014/2015 financial year. The only connections outstanding were in high density areas where access could not be provided for the installation of services,” Sonnenberg explains.

“The next phase of the project to provide electricity services to backyarders in the Newfields area, will commence shortly.”

Backyarder in Silica Walk form part of Newfields area, Sonnenberg explains. “Work is expected to start within the next few weeks. Funding has been allocated and the contractor is busy with final preparation work.”

Newfields was not part of the original project, therefore the roll-out to the area cannot be described as a delay, Sonnenberg says.

“The Newfields area was not part of the original project as far as electricity services are concerned. The area has since been approved as the next phase. A consultant had to be appointed to provide the design and the design had to be audited by the City. Funding had to be arranged. The phase is now ready for construction to start.”

The aim is to complete the Newfields part of the project by the end of June. The roll-out of electricity so far has cost approximately R96m with R4m budgeted for the Newfields roll-out, Sonnenberg says.

He explains the City’s backyarder programme aims to improve access to municipal services for residents living in the backyards of City owned rental dwellings. It is the first municipal project of this type.

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