Residents cry foul over services

Resident Thumeka Mpama closes her nose as she is about to relieve herself in one of the Mshengu toilets provided by the City.

When a group of 60 residents from Zwelitsha in Khayelitsha were moved from their homes in December last year, to make way for the construction of a temporary primary school, they were promised basic services such as water, toilets and electricity-but many still don’t have access to these.

The school is schedule to be opened before the end of April. The frustrated residents said when they were moved they were told that at the end of January water, toilets and electricity would be provided for everyone.

But, they told Vukani, the entire area only had one communal tap and residents were forced to wake up early in the morning -especially on weekends and public holidays -to beat the long and frustrating queues to fetch water.

Furthermore, the residents said, they had only been provided with 20 mobile chemical toilets (Mshengus) which were only cleaned once a week-on a Monday.

Resident Thumeka Mpama said when they were moved, they were told that services would be provided quickly, and residents had believed that things were going to change for better.

“If I’m going to do laundry I need to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to fetch water from the tap before everyone gets there. “But that also puts us at risk of being robbed while getting water as it was still dark in the morning. How do you relieve yourself when there is already a flowing faeces in the toilet? “The other day I vomited because the smell of the toilet was unbearable and I could not take it,” she said. Ms Mpama said that they had had numerous meetings with their ward councillor, Andile Lili, about their complaints, but he had failed to provide answers.

Ms Mpama said some residents had resorted to illegally connecting to the electricity supply at nearby houses-which came at a hefty price.

Another resident, Zikhona Tshalisi, said they had been given the municipal plastic bags to put rubbish in but they had no containers in which to discard them. The City’s mayoral committee member for area east, Anda Ntsodo, conceded that there had been a delay in the installation of the promised services.

However, he said, as of next week the City would start rolling out the installation of water meters and start installing electricity poles.

He said the budget for the community of Zwezwe had been approved long time ago but the delay had been caused by internal matters.

Ward councillor Andile Lili called on residents to be patient, saying workers were already in the area installing water meters.He refuted the claims that he was not keeping residents informed about the progress of development in their area.