City housing crisis grows
Settlers from the newly established Nkanini informal settlement north of Mayfield have demanded water, electricity and sanitation from Makana Municipality.
Chairperson of the Infrastructure and Engineering portfolio committee Mabhuti Matyumza told Grocott’s Mail a delegation had come to the City Hall this week, requesting services.
In June 2017, people flocked to the veld adjacent to houses in Mayfield and Transit camp where a self appointed committee allocated them plots. Sturctures have mushroomed with more than a thousand now scattered across the commonage. The area is known as Nkanini. More here: Groclangrab Nkanini’s western border is metres away from the expanse where Phase 2 of the Mayfield housing should stand by now. Sewage and water infrastructure for the development put in more than two years ago is now damaged by weather and vandalism.
This month, Grocott’s Mail has reported on land grabs that started on 31 July on land adjacent to Vukani, on the south-west edge of the city.
With Makana Municipality having recently lost their bid to interdict settlement at Nkanini and more land being rapidly annexed near Vukani, they are already on the back foot when it comes to dealing with a growing crisis in informal housing.
In his opening address at yesterday’s portfolio committee meeting, Matyumza said of the settlers’ demands for services, “It is their constitutional right – but it’s an unfunded mandate because it’s an unplanned development,” he told councillors and officials. “We don’t have the capacity to service those needs.”
While upgrades to increase the water supply were under way, demand meanwhile far outstripped supply, resulting in frequent and prolonged water outages. Reports in the committee agenda contain full updates on all the infrastructure upgrades under way in the municipality.
On Tuesday Grocott’s Mail visited enkanini. Young and old were carrying roof poles, pushing wheelbarrows loaded with corrugated iron. A bakkie loaded with fencing and building materials was being offloaded.
Nails were being hammered at the front of one house, while at the back, some were digging a pit toilet.
There and at the new Vukani settlement, their major concern is to get electricity and water. “We have applied for RDP houses,” a group of Vukani settlers told Grocott’s Mail. “Many times. We never got houses.”
Some said they had put their names on the list at the housing department long time ago. But instead of them getting houses, they saw young people taking ownership, who didn’t even live there.
Former Mayor Zamuxolo Peter acknowledged corruption in the allocation of RDP housing in Makana at the time Mayfield Phase 1 was nearing completion.
Makana recently lost a court bid to interdict settlement at the enkanini site.
Spokesperson Yoliswa Ramokolo said, “We took the matter to court and the municipality lost. We will study the judgment to see on what basis they’ve made this ruling and see if we have grounds for appeal.”
Public service watchdog PSAM says all residents have the right to clean water, housing and a healthy environment.
Researcher Zukiswa Kota said, “While the PSAM acknowledges the dynamic nature of human settlements and consequent demands for housing, there can be no excuse for poor planning that results in the infringement of fundamental human rights.”
Kota said all residents have, under the Constitution, the right to access clean water and housing (Section 27), a healthy environment (Section 24).
A temporary structure built in enkanini opoposite Extension 10. A fence has been put in the doorway - maybe so that animals don’t enter.