The poor enjoy living in a dump

2012-03-07 12:27

A while ago E news showed a story of children in Delft South playing in dangerous conditions, the children had made a swing on the power lines as though there is no play ground in Delft South.

There is a park for children to play but it was badly destroyed by the community. The chains on the Swing were stolen, park benches broken, no tables and other material made of metal probably sold at a scrapyard.

Back in 2008 there was another playground built for children on Precinct 6, Delft. It was such an exciting day for the children who had just moved from informal settlements where there are no playgrounds or open spaces to build a playground; to a new house with a school less than 500 meters away from home now across the street from the school; the government built a playground for the children.

The following day during my site visit, I noticed that the grass at the playground was missing and when I looked at the houses close-by; to my surprise every single one of them had the most beautiful lawn. They stole the grass from the playground.

So when government provides amenities, the community destroys them. This is very common in the Cape. Computers were stolen at the Mitchells Plain public library, Andile Msizi hall in Khayelitsha had a break-in and computers bought for the community to use when writing CV's were stolen.

The sub-council offices in Delft were broken into a while back. Paving bricks were stolen from the walk ways in Delft. If you go to the Cape Town Council, they will tell you that the council spends more money fixing and replacing stuff than it spends providing new public amenities.

Should government hire a security guard for every sewer manhole lid? For every park bench? How about a security guard for every paving brick?

Just who is to blame for children playing on power lines when the government had built a beautiful playground for the children?

Who should we blame when we see children swimming with dirty nappies in Delft as though there are no bins to throw the disposable nappies in or public summing pool?

Who should we blame when we see a three year old child playing with a used condom in an informal settlement in Khayelitsha? Then you wonder why there are such long queues at the health care centres.

A colleague of mine once complained that the City of Cape Town is racist because in Camps Bay you would never see rubbish piling up on people's backyards or blocked storm water drains blocked whenever it rains.

I explained to my colleague that the people in Camps Bay know how to dispose of their waste; they don't use their bins to transport beer or soak their dirty blankets in them. If the people in Camps Bay saw a skorokoro dumping rubbish on their backyards, that skorokoro would be taken to a scrapyard with that rubbish because the people in Camps Bay care about the environment they live in and wouldn't let anyone mess it up.

But in Delft and other poorer communities, the people just don't care and this has a negative impact on their lives. The people dump wherever they see an open space and destroy whatever the government is trying to build. So my colleague should complain about the poor not looking after the environment instead of blaming the government for Camps Bay's clean open spaces.

When you neglect the environment, you are neglecting your very own wellbeing so instead of waiting for government to clean up your mess, clean it up yourself; I should hope you do not wait for someone to wipe your behind eveytime you go to the toilet. It won’t be a government official’s child that plays on the playground or swims in a pond with dirty nappies but your child.

Council spends over a billion rand a year fixing or replacing things that are damaged purposely. You get a free house, free water, roads, schools, clinics, libraries, swimming pools, and playgrounds for children, stadiums and so on.

The entire Delft South was built by government for indigent people, the least they can do is look after the stuff but that is the problem; if something is provided for you without direct payment, it becomes difficult to value it when you should appreciate it more. If you buy a television set for R3000.00 and someone purposely breaks it; you will have a problem with that person but this is not the case with a free school. People just vandalise them without considering that their own child will need an education. Indigent people ungrateful perhaps?

Then maybe the government should make it compulsory for the indigent people to contribute towards the construction of the public amenities by labour if they do not have the money. Think about it, if you used your energy to build something; you would surely look after it. And no its not slavery, you are the one that needs a school, swimming pool and playground for your children. How else do we get you to value the ‘free’ stuff?

You are responsible for your environment; for all public amenities. so look after them, this encourages government to do more, the council is revamping to run-down playground. I hope by the time its completed the Delft South community will have learnt to look after their public amenities.

We cannot blame the government for everything but we can certainly blame the politicians for fooling the poor into thinking that the state can do everything at no cost and the people do not have to do anything when the politicians should be instilling a sense of responsibility amongst the people.

The election promises create unrealistic expectations of freebies for all when in actual fact it costs money to build the free school, house, clinic, library and so on.

So if a community wants freebies, then it must prove that it can look after them and not waste money on people who are happy to live in a dump.

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