Open Letter to the Mayor: Broken promises of electricity in Blikkiesdorp formal shack settlement

2 11 2009

BLIKKIESDORP COMMUNITY- DELFT (SYMPHONYWAY TRA)
DATE: 2ND November 2009

To: The Mayor – Dan Plato
From: Blikkiesdorp Anti- Eviction Campaign (Western Cape)
Subject: Installation of Electricity

It has become common knowledge that the government and politicians ignore the poor. Members of the Blikkiesdorp community have been trying to set up a meeting with Mayor Dan Plato for several weeks now regarding the installation of electricity in the area.
Our first contact with Dan Plato occurred in May 2009. As has become customary for politicians, he arrived in our area with scores of bodyguards and great words of promise about how he was going to role out electricity in Blikkiesdorp Phase 1 and 2 by August 2009. As has also become customary with politicians, these words were a lie. Today, we are still standing without any electricity. In the mean time three shacks in Blikkiesdorp have burnt down because people have to continue to use paraffin for cooking. During these fires, sadly two people were injured. Added to this, at a public meeting, one community member also recounted how she is incurring serious health problems as she can’t refrigerate her insulin, which she needs to control her diabetes. So we continue to suffer.

Up until now we have tried to give Dan Plato the benefit of the doubt. We have continuously tried to make follow up appointments with Dan Plato about his promise to provide electricity. In September 2009, we contacted him to remind him of his promise and call him to a meeting. His curt response was that he was due to go on an overseas trip, but that he would make sure to set time aside for a meeting with us after the 15th of September 2009. Sadly, this promised meeting never happened as again his words turned out to be hot air.

This morning, 2nd of November, we once again contacted Plato to remind him of his promises. Again we asked for a meeting to discuss the issue of rolling out electricity in our area. This time round Dan Plato simply refused to meet with us. Sadly, this is yet another instance of the poor simply being brushed aside by politicians. First they dump us in Blikkiesdorp and then they ignore our outcries – ‘democracy’ South African style! So while Dan refuses to see us, shacks carry on burning and the sick become sicker. Clearly, Dan Plato doesn’t care – his plush Mayoral House, and the houses of the rich who he actually serves, have electricity!

Since Dan was not willing to help us we thought we would go straight to Eskom. Eskom was no more helpful than Dan. Eskom told us that the electricity poles, minus the electricity, that have been installed have been installed in the wrong places. They said these poles will have to be removed and maybe if we are lucky we will get electricity in 2010!. Are we actually to believe this?

We will not be ignored. We will also continue to contact Dan Plato and Eskom until we have our electricity. We call on all social movements, NGOs and unions to assist us by also contacting Dan at mayor.mayor@capetown.gov.za and Eskom at jacob.maroga@eskom.co.za. Power to the people in more ways than one!

For more information contact:

Willy at 073 144 3619
Marieta at 078 834 5339
Steven at 073 062 1309

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