July 21 2009 at 01:33pm
Disgruntled informal settlement residents have given mayor Dan Plato two weeks to respond to their service delivery demands.
The residents, drawn from various communities in Khayelitsha and Macassar Village, on Monday marched from Keizersgracht Street to the City of Cape Town to demand, among other things, relocation to higher ground, as well as better housing and serviced land.
The march follows several service delivery protests which have flared across the Western Cape since April’s general elections.
In song and dance, the protesters denounced the government and major political parties for ignoring their plight.
Council official Andile Mhlanga accepted memoranda on Plato’s behalf as the mayor was said to be busy.
Some protesters spoke about the squalor they live in.
“We live in flooding squatter camps. We struggle to survive. We have no toilets,” said Mzwanele Biko, 25, of TT section in Khayelitsha.
He said he had migrated from the Eastern Cape 10 years ago hoping to “improve my life… But nothing has happened, I have no job.”
Another TT section resident, Zandile Maliwa, 45, a father of four, said: “Rubbish is not collected. The whole community share two water taps.”
Vuyani Ntontela, 42, who lives in UT section in Khayelitsha, said there were no tar roads which made it difficult for emergency vehicles to gain access to the area.
“We also use the bucket system. We want the flush system,” said Ntontela.
Housing activist Mzonke Poni, who led the march, said residents did not want to be violent when demanding services, “but it it’s the only language that the government understands better”.
He called on Plato to convene a meeting with the affected communities to address their concerns.
Academic Martin Legassick, who was there to support the residents, said more protests over service delivery should be staged and that the city should explain how it planned to use available public land.
o This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on July 21, 2009