Gugs residents refuse aid, demand housing instead

Ali Sablay in one of the shacks that was flooded.

Flood-ravaged Gugulethu resident have refused aid and have demanded houses instead from a charitable organisation who came to assist them.

Gift of the Givers came in a convoy of cars to aid residents in the Gxagxa informal settlement in Gugulethu on Monday April 24. About 130 residents and 50 shacks were flooded after heavy rains at the weekend and last week.

The charitable organisation brought food parcels, blankets and soap but the gesture turned into a long meeting between residents and volunteers because those trapped by the floods refused the aid and demanded houses instead.

Resident Neziwe Mazolwane, stood in amazement as the meeting continued.

“We need to be workshopped and be educated. We cannot demand houses from the wrong people. Gift of the Givers have nothing to do with housing. I have a kitchen and I know a lot of people need these food parcels but a few people are standing in the way as stumbling blocks. I am disappointed,” she said.

Gift of the Givers’ Ali Sably in vain tried to convince residents to accept the help and made calls to politicians to speak to them.

“They have valid reasons. They said we must come when it is dry with the ministers. We will come back but now we must go to other areas in Khayelitsha. They are making sense. They say that if it rains tonight, the food will be affected. We have to come at the right time. They are frustrated. But I doubt we will come again soon. There are more calls for help elsewhere,” he said, taking off his gumboots.

One of the community leaders, Mervin Tshabalala, said he has nothing to say about residents refusing assistance and added that there should be help to remove the residents from the banks of the well and the low-lying area.

Mr Tshabalala said people have been living there for 28 years.

Gift of the Givers volunteers Pamela Kaptein and Ali Sablay were prevented from providing aid to flooded residents in Gugulethu.