Residents slam construction of sidewalks

SIYAVUYA KHAYA

In a quest to improve pedestrian safety at Island informal settlement, in Philippi, the City of Cape Town built sidewalks in Ntabethemba, Nduli and Ntabazokhwahlambo streets.

The project, which cost about R200 000 was also intended beautifying the area.

However, some residents are not happy about the project and say speed bumps would have been a better option.

They also complained about the lack of consultation prior to construction.

Phumelelo Matshoba said sidewalks were unnecessary. He said the community grappled with a lot of challenges such as drain blockages, lack of sports facilities and some dirty detention ponds created to drain excess storm water.

“For me, this project was pointless and they could have done something better than this. They could have cleaned the soccer field which is in an unbearable state. People have also opted to build speed bumps because our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

He added that they could have built the humps at a nearby school. “This is useless. What about the lives of people who live here,” he asked. He said they had been told to move their yards backwards because they did not leave a 1.5 metre distance from the road.

Another resident, Siyabonga Ngxothiwe, agreed. He said the youth did not have sports facilities to keep them out of crime. “The councillor could have at least approached the residents and discussed with them to find out what they needed the most rather than wasting money on useless things, he said.

“Our youth are lured to crime because they do not have extramural activities. Years ago they used to play different sports codes, the field was properly maintained, but now the field is in a shocking state,” he said.

Councillor Mzuzile Mpondwana said they had decided to erect sidewalks because they noticed a lot of people were being knocked down by cars as there were none

He told Vukani that some homes had encroached on the road, forcing people to walk in the middle of the road.

“People have been knocked down by speeding cars as they stepped out of their homes, especially on Ntabethemba, which is the neighbourhood’s busiest street,” he said.

He said the money that was spent was from Sub-council 13 savings. Sub-council allocations were limited to doing certain things.

Mr Mpondwana said in order to build speed bumps, certain criteria had to be met, such as as close proximity to a school. Mr Mpondwana admitted that the area was indeed faced with a lot of challenges. “We do not have a land in the area where we can build facilities for the youth and that remains one of the main challenges,” he said.

He said they were slowly making inroads to improve the living conditions of the people of Island and these projects play a significant role in contributing to the cleanliness of the community.

Resident Buyelwa Jonas said a nearby drain had always been a problem for residents as it constantly overflowed and as a result, faeces would flow in the street. Ms Jonas said they had reported the matter to the councillor, but he has never taken steps to ensure that it is fixed.

“I wished that Vukani had visited the area last week because the sewage was over flowing and the smell was unpleasant. The sewage would flow for months without any intervention from the councillor. I’m telling you, if you can visit here sometime next week, this drain will not be like this. When the drain is blocked, it’s very hard for us to open our windows and doors. We are literally forced to be indoors. I thought that the councillor would use that money to fix it, instead of erecting sidewalks, which are unnecessary,” she said.