Demand for houses spreads to Site B

The street after the service delivery protests.

Irate residents of S section informal settlement in Site B, opposite the Khayelitsha Stadium, took to Pama Road and surrounding streets last week as they protested against poor service delivery and the long wait for houses.

The protesting residents brought traffic to a standstill on various streets of Khayelitsha on Friday April 20, blockading the road with burning tyres and rocks.

When Vukani arrived at the scene, the residents had already been dispersed by the police but the police continued to maintain a strong presence in the area.

The residents claimed that they had been living in the area for over 20 years and were on the City of Cape Town housing database. The frustrated residents said their shacks flood during winter and their structures were often damaged by heavy storms.

They said in 2011 they started engaging with the City about the development of their community.

Community leader Nomaleyidi Mangena had been living in the area since 1989 and claims that their living conditions had not changed at all.

Ms Mangena said they had requested the City to build them houses in their current community but she said the City informed them that some would have to be moved to various serviced sites while others could be moved to Atlantis.

Ms Mangena said the residents were over the moon with joy that finally they could have decent houses but she claims that their joy was short-lived.

Ms Mangena said it has been eight years since they had been waiting for development of their community.

She claims that they met again in 2014 with the City to draft a memorandum of agreement about the development of their community and with the hope that things would change.

She accused the City of having double standards.

“We know that blocking and burning tyres on the road won’t bring houses. But we are sending a strong sign that we are fed up and we want houses.

“We can’t live like this. We have been waiting patiently for years but it seems that the City has no plans to build us houses. We are human beings as well; we need proper living conditions,” she said.

Ms Mangena charged that their complaints had been repeatedly ignored by the City. This, she said, has propelled them to voice their frustration and anger.

She vowed that they would keep the City on its toes until their demands were met.

According to Ward 91 councillor, Thando Mpengesi, the protest was aimed at showing the residents’ dissatisfaction over the lack of housing.

Mr Mpengesi said they had tried countless times to have meetings with the relevant officials within the City, but their efforts had proved to be fruitless.

He said the situation had reached boiling point.

Mr Mpengesi said it was painful to see areas that have been established recently receiving much-needed service delivery. He said the residents felt that they had been too kind and patient dealing with the City.

Anda Ntsodo, the mayoral committee member for area east, said he has instructed City officials to visit the area and assess the area and see how it could be developed.

He said he would report back to residents next week Thursday.

Mr Ntsodo said he could not comment about the promises made to residents about housing as he was not a mini-mayor that time.