Media: Mayor pleads for patience on relocation

18 07 2009

Note: The City has been promising to move QQ residents to Bardale for almost a decade.  They are tired of siting back and being patient while their homes are flooded

July 17, 2009 Edition 1
Francis Hweshe – Cape Argus

SOME of the residents of the flooded QQ informal settlement in Khayelitsha who staged fierce service delivery protests earlier this week will only be relocated to dry land next year, says Mayor Dan Plato.

Plato said yesterday that about 300 families from the QQ and RR sections in Site B would be moved to the Bardale temporary relocation area next October.
Residents of Burundi in Mfuleni, who had been worst affected by the recent floods, were in the process of being relocated there, he explained.

In that community, residents had been living under “dramatically worse and inhumane conditions”.

“We are relocating people from the pond onto dry land. We cannot relocate everyone at the same time.

“Communities need to trust us. They need to work with us. We won’t allow people to invade land,” he said.

On the Bardale site, residents would have access to electricity and other services while waiting for proper housing units from the government, Plato added.

The QQ settlement, which was rocked by violent protests on Tuesday and Wednesday, was relatively quiet yesterday afternoon.

But Landsdowne Road, which runs through the area, was still littered with smouldering barricades that had been erected during the protest.

A group of residents, mainly children, occasionally tried unsuccessfully to block the flow of traffic by pushing tyres on to the road.

Mzonke Poni, chairman of housing lobby group Abahlali baseMjondolo (“Shack Dwell-ers”), which had mastermind-ed the protest, said it was over “for now”.

Resident Funeka Mkwambi, 57, whose makeshift house is built on a seasonal wetland commonly referred to as the “Waterfront”, said the protest had been justified.

Mkwambi, who lives with seven other realtives, said that each time the area became flooded, “we have to live in water”.

And after this week’s floods, she was forced to wear gumboots to get access to their home.

“It’s not right. You only take them (gumboots) off when you are climbing on to a bed to sleep,” she said, wading through her flooded forecourt to check on her laundry drying on a line outside.

“It’s hard to live here. My three children and I suffer from asthma.

“Last night I couldn’t sleep, but we don’t have anywhere else to go,” she said, struggling for breath.

Poni said that because of the “harsh living conditions”, tuberculosis was rife in the community.

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