Residents demand services in Site C

A Golden Arrow bus was set alight.

A violent service delivery protest erupted when Chris Hani informal settlement residents in Site C barricaded the N2 with heavy metal objects and rubbish before burning a Golden Arrow bus in the early hours of Monday June 12.

The residents blocked a section of the N2, demanding better service delivery and electricity.

The road remained closed for about two hours and traffic had to be diverted until the debris had been cleared.

From as early as 3am, residents had already started blocking the road, with the freezing weather doing little to dampen their spirits.

A fortnight ago the same residents had blocked the roads causing heavy delays and frustration for commuters travelling to and from work.

They also accused their ward councillor Ntomboxolo Kopman from the ANC of turning a blind eye to their challenges.

They said they were fed up with Ms Kopman and demanded that she should be removed as the ward councillor for failing to address their needs.

They have also vowed to intensify their fight if their pleas are ignored.

With the recent heavy downpours and more rain expected, the residents said these were a harsh reminder of the inhumane living conditions they had been subjected to.

Resident Nokhawa Maphanga said she had been living in the area for more than 20 years and nothing had changed.

She claimed their ward councillor often told them that they did not belong in her ward, but when she was campaigning for votes, she promised to tackle their issues immediately.

Ms Maphanga said while residents had reaped some of the benefits of freedom, they were still “living like dogs”.

She said during the heavy storm that battered the province last week, their homes were cold and flooded and they were unable to buy heaters because they did not have electricity to connect them to.

Ms Maphanga said the people whose electricity supply they tapped into, often victimised and overcharged them.

“I’m paying about R300 a month just for electricity.

“I could have saved that money but because I need electricity I need to pay that money because paraffin is expensive. Are we asking too much?”

Ms Kopman told Vukani that on Tuesday June 13, the City of Cape Town and residents held a meeting and reached an amicable solution.

She said they were informed that 50 percent of the land belongs to the City and the other half belongs to the province hence the area could not be electrified.

She explained that the City took a decision to write a letter to the province to ask for the land to be transferred to them so that they could instruct Eskom to start with the process of connecting electricity.

“Next week Tuesday we will have another meeting to hear the feedback but it seems that the province agrees to allow the City to have the land.

“We will have monthly meetings with the residents until this issue has been put to bed. The accusations that I have neglected them are false,” she said.

Golden Arrow Bus spokeperson Bronwen Dyke confirmed to Vukani that the bus was set alight by group of residents that were protesting.

She said there were no injuries reported.

Another resident, Siyavuya Nkale, who said she had had enough of living without electricity, appealed to government to speed up service delivery in township areas.

Anda Ntsodo, mayoral committee member for area east, said the City is still engaging provincial government on the land ownership status of the Chris Hani informal settlement in the area of Site C, Khayelitsha.

As soon as we receive feedback, he said they will engage Eskom for their assessment of the settlement.

“It’s only then we will be able to provide an outcome/ way forward to the community.”