Crying for help

Nyameko Sinandile, Khayelitsha

This letter attempts to alert and implore the DA leadership and administration in the Western Cape to consider the plight of the poorest of the poor in Khayelitsha.

These people are landless and are without houses, a basic element in the foundation of livelihood and economic participation.

The people of Khayelitsha are crying for help so that they can seize the business opportunities that are open to them in Khayelitsha and elsewhere in the province.

Housing is fundamental to solving a number of deepening socio-economic and health problems in the Khayelitsha.

People need land to build their houses: they need land to build their business; they need land and support to revolt against poverty and inequality.

The quest for self-realisation cannot be fulfilled if the Western Cape government continues to ignore the backyarders and people in the informal settlements.

Complexities experienced by the poor people of the Western Cape in Khayelitsha are more than the land question: there are toilets, no jobs and no business opportunities.

In Khayelitsha and other places we have experienced fires where a lot of shacks continue to burn; where many people are getting injured in the process; where people lose the best of their meagre and hard-earned resources.

During the rainy season, people in the informal settlements experience floods. Children and the elderly get sick due to exposure to cold and rain. To live in the informal settlement is like a curse that you have to deal with and the fires that you have not lit.

Recently, at Town Two (SST informal settlement) more than 1 000 shacks were burnt down, and in Tshepe Tshepe informal settlement (near D Section) more than 50 shacks were burnt down.

We are indebted to the people, organisations and agencies that have donated material resources to the rebuilding of shacks and the lives of the shack dwellers.

However, the Western Cape government is pleased to address the symptoms, but not the root of the problem.

This government needs to rezone open spaces of land around Khayelitsha for houses to be built for the informal settlement dwellers and backyarders. The government of the Western Cape needs to investigate the matter and collaborate with the people of Khayelitsha and other communities in Cape Town to address the land question.

Land poverty is people’s poverty. Without land there is no prosperity. Without prosperity there is no peace. Without peace there is no stability, no future.