OPINION: No one heeds our townships’ cry for help

Lawlessness, chaos, pandemonium, all in the name of Covid-19.

Black townships are crying out but no one is listening.

Townships are calling on people who can lead them to the land of milk and honey, but there are no hands up. Everyone is quiet in their own corner.

The so-called leaders are at the back, whispering and hissing.

The so-called leaders who, come next year, would be on the podiums, campaigning for their organisation to lead the municipality.

By encouraging people to put up shacks, you do not want to see them prosper and live a better life. The leaders are encouraging lawlessness. People are encouraged to put up structures everywhere and anywhere.

There is not an attempt from those who lead to stop the chaos and lawlessness.

They have simply found an opportunity to lie so they can be voted in next year.

They want to serve in the governmental structures come what may.

It is a pity the government does not screen these people because political cards are used.

Those who speak against them are named impimpi, sell-outs and bourgeois who have never been poor.

The so-called leaders are failing at a simple thing, to encourage people to fight for better houses than shacks. The claim is that if they put shacks up, the government will build houses for them.It has become difficult to drive to Khayelitsha lately because of violent people who want to build shacks anywhere.

All around Mfuleni, people are putting up structures, claiming to be homeless and some claiming that it is difficult to pay rent during this time of the pandemic and the resultant lockdown. Maybe that is fair enough.

But these demands tend to overlook the needs of some of the most vulnerable in society, women and children.

When law enforcement demolish these structures, who suffers most? It is children.

In many instances, children lose their books and documents. Children lose out on schooling. Ordinary motorists become victims too.

These demands tend to overlook that adequate and quality childcare is a critical need for the children.

This is merely one instalment in a drama that may still have some years to run.

Can’t residents and their leaders revisit this strategy?

For me, this is a dangerous strategy to get votes or houses.

Allowing people to put shacks anywhere is going to haunt us in the long run.

People torching community halls, schools, roads and stoning cars should not be tolerated, let alone encouraged.

Attacks on government vehicles, including ambulances, should not be encouraged.

The torching of the Desmond Tutu Hall in Khayelitsha last week was unfortunate.

The hall was to be used as a Covid-19 facility.

I do not have numbers and figures but I know what we (Africans) are high on coronavirus stats.

I know we have no proper houses. I know some of those who put up shacks wherever they can have more than 10 shacks all around the Cape Town metro.

The chaos that is currently playing out in the township is a cry for leadership.

Fool me, but I am aware that this is the longest running political soap opera being played out. Black townships have been used as a fat land for political gain.

This is the toxic legacy that our own will leave for generations to come.

By torching, stoning cars and destroying the little we have, are we truly advancing the people’s power? If we happen to win the local elections next year, will we have the budget to rebuild our lives? Will we be able to refurbish all the halls that we gutted down?

The quality of our lives is very important. That is non-negotiable. But why must we be encouraged to get out of a shack and stay in a shack somewhere else?

When are we going to be developed and stay in a proper house?

At this time and juncture, true leaders must stand up. True leaders must be prepared to lose votes for honesty. True leaders must fight for housing opportunities not shacks.

People are swamped in shacks in some low-lying areas. Shacks are only dumping sites. I cry for leadership. People in the township are crying out loud. They want to be led.