Residents of Tsephetsephe informal settlement, in Khayelitsha, made an impassioned plea to Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille to inform them about the City’s plans to develop the area.
Among other things, they want the City to build them houses. This emerged during the mayor’s visit to the area on Thursday March 11, when she met residents and heard their grievances.
Ms Lille, who is the Democratic Alliance’s mayoral candidate for the upcoming local government elections, was accompanied by Brett Herron, Mayoral committee member for transport, as well as Member of Parliament, Thandeka Gqada.
Community leader Melisizwe Kato said they had been living in appaling conditions for many years.
He said the government seemed to be turning a blind eye to their plight.
With winter looming, Mr Kato said it becomes a headache for the residents to live in the area. He said most shacks leak and are prone to heavy rains.
“We have never been informed about the development plans for the area. We are appealing to you to tell us what plans you have in place for us? We need houses urgently and it is safe to say that the area is neglected by the government. When one shack is engulfed in flames, the fire quickly spreads to other shacks because they are close to each other. That is one of the challenges that we are forced to live under. We don’t have recreational facilities for our children and that propels our youth to engage in criminal activities. When we have burials, we can’t even carry the coffin to the hearse because there is not enough space between the shacks,” he said.
While most people complained about the sluggish service delivery in the townships, Mfundo Mbeki, owner of Rands pub, appealed to the mayor to assist upcoming business owners in Khayelitsha by providing land for them.
He said such land would enable them to run their businesses. He said his business lost customers due to space constraints. He added that he made numerous attempts to acquire some land, but did not know the proper procedures on how to do so.
“Even if it’s a lease land, I don’t mind because I just need a land that would be able to accommodate the cars for my clients. That would help me to grow the business,” he said.
Ms De Lille told the residents that the aim of the meeting was to listen to their complaints with the hope of providing clarity. “Ask anything that you want to know about the plans of the City,” she said.
She promised to assist Mr Mbeki in terms of how to acquire municipal land and the necessary procedures.
Responding to some of the concerns, she promised to organise a special meeting with community leaders and all relevant heads of various departments.
“That meeting would provide an opportunity for you guys to voice out your concerns in detail and the affected departments would therefore respond,” she said.
Ms De Lille urged the community to be the ears and eyes of the City.
She also encouraged the residents to hold the City accountable.