Khayelitsha residents will protest ‘until Jesus comes’

23 07 2009

July 21, 2009 Edition 1
ANÉL LEWIS – Cape Times

DISGRUNTLED residents of 15 informal settlements in Khayelitsha say they will protest “until Jesus comes” if the City of Cape Town does not respond to their demands to be relocated to sites with better living conditions.

And they have threatened to continue with service delivery protests.

Mthobeli Qona of informal housing lobby group Abahlali baseMjondolo said protesters would “make Khayelitsha and the city ungovernable” until the city council responded.
About 150 informal dwellers marched to the Civic Centre yesterday to hand over a memorandum of concerns to Mayor Dan Plato. Each community included its own list of demands.

A representative from Plato’s office accepted the memorandum on his behalf. He said Plato was at a workshop. Plato has been given 14 days to respond.

Abahlali chairman Mzonke Poni said the group was disappointed that Plato was absent, despite being informed of the march. “The action is very arrogant. We don’t recognise Plato as the mayor.”

The memorandum listed residents’ concerns about living conditions in informal settlements. They asked the city to look at the conditions and provide a plan to resolve particular needs.

The city was also asked to finalise a city-wide housing plan for those living in informal settlements.

“Furthermore, we would like the city and its anti-land invasion unit to adopt a different attitude.”

Residents of QA section demanded land, better cleaning and waste collection services and the provision of toilets in informal areas.

The VW settlement is 21 years old, but still does not have essential services, residents complained. Residents from the TT section said they did not want to be relocated.

“We want the city to recognise the number of years that we have been staying here at TT section and we demand that this area be upgraded.”

Residents from the QQ section accused the city of “fooling our people”. They asked to be relocated to Bardale Farm “as promised” by former mayor Helen Zille.

The evictees of Macassar Village said the city’s demolition of their shacks was illegal.

Residents from the UT section Egadini said in a separate memorandum that the houses in their area were so close together that firefighters could not do their job in a fire.

They asked for streets and the relocation of some residents to de-densify the area, as well as better sanitation and improved lighting.

anel.lewis@inl.co.za

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