Shukushukuma residents protest to draw attention to their plight

Law enforcement quickly snuffed out sporadic protests last Thursday after hundreds of residents of Shukushukuma informal settlements in Site C who had been trapped in floods overnight and are now displaced, threw garbage and all sorts of missiles onto the busy Jeff Masemola Road.

Flash floods caused by torrential rains late on Wednesday and early on Thursday caused flooding and angry residents took their frustrations to the street. Protesters called for the City of Cape Town to evacuate them or give them proper houses that they have been crying for for more than two decades now.

However, negotiations between the community and police, Metro police and local councillors who were quickly on the scene, quelled tensions and clean-up operations soon started to help the 200 families who had been displaced.

Many residents, however, told Vukani they were not happy with how the City treated them and said they were worried about the future.

“Many have left their close families around here while others have remained in the muddy and flooded shacks. For those of us who have no families, we have no choice but to remain here. The Cape weather is now starting to change. To run away will not solve our problem. It will only be solved by getting proper houses” said Fundiswa Pika.

She, did however, commend their local councillor Silulami Velem for responding quickly to their call.

“For a change our councillor was at hand. But this has been going on for more than 20 years now. We are not sure whether we will ever get houses. This is a painful life. We have sick people in bed. We have children that are getting sick because the area is always moist,” she said.

Siyabonga Nxopho said last week’s heavy rain had cost him dearly and he and his family have had to stay with a neighbour.

“I have a four-month-old baby. I am grateful to have a neighbour who helped me and my family. My shack is flooded and I could not save my clothes and all my appliances. We are left with what we are wearing now,” he said.

After assessing the damage, Mr Velem called on the City to assist, but like many others, he used the opportunity to blast the City for ignoring the residents of his ward.

“I know their story and complaints very well. Their issues have been documented but no one seems to care about them. I have communicated with them all the time,” he said.

He said now that winter is coming, his community would be haunted by floods, with poor drainage systems contributing to the problem. “This is not how people should live. This area is forever flooded and everybody knows that,” he said.

Residents of Shukushukuma informal settlement barricaded roads to draw attention to their plight after their area was flooded by downpours last week.
Siyabonga Nxopho was left with no place to sleep after heavy rains
A police officer negotiates with one of the leaders Fundiswa Pika.