‘For­got­ten’ el­derly los­ing hope

Post - - NEWS - CHAR­LENE SOMDUTH POST

THE new year has not her­alded change for fam­i­lies liv­ing in in­for­mal dwellings at New Glas­gow on the KZN North Coast.

Af­ter liv­ing in makeshift homes for years, they be­lieve the gov­ern­ment has for­got­ten about them.

They are, how­ever, ex­pect­ing de­liv­ery on prom­ises of a bet­ter fu­ture from politi­cians be­fore the com­ing elec­tions.

In 2016, high­lighted the plight of some of the fam­i­lies in New Glas­gow, mainly pen­sion­ers, who lived with­out elec­tric­ity and proper san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Pen­sioner Ju­rani Lutchman, 71, still used a pit toi­let.

“We are the el­derly. It is the gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure we live with dig­nity, but we have been for­got­ten. We only see politi­cians when it is elec­tion time. They lis­ten to our con­cerns, but they do noth­ing to help us.”

She said she man­aged to get a pre-paid elec­tric­ity me­ter in­stalled, which for her was a lux­ury item.

Fel­low res­i­dent Kevin Fitchet, 66, col­lects rain­wa­ter, which he boils and uses to bath and cook. If there is no rain, he has to walk some dis­tance to col­lect wa­ter from a river.

“We don’t need much – just run­ning wa­ter, proper toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and elec­tric­ity.”

He said pub­lic trans­port was not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble and, as a re­sult, he strug­gled to find money for a pri­vate taxi, es­pe­cially when he needed to travel to the clinic in Veru­lam. “We ap­pre­ci­ate the help we re­ceive from the com­mu­nity, but we need the gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene.”

Par­vathi Gan­gaper­soon, 82, said: “What will be­come of us? Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials will only un­der­stand our plight if they ex­pe­ri­ence how we live and go through our strug­gles. An­other year has passed and noth­ing has changed. Our sit­u­a­tion re­mains the same.”

KZN Hu­man Set­tle­ments MEC Ravi Pillay said the depart­ment was aware of the New Glas­gow com­mu­nity.

He said: “They form part of our back­log in eThek­wini. Our in­for­mal set­tle­ments unit has been tasked with im­prov­ing ser­vices and con­di­tions there un­til they can be ac­com­mo­dated in a for­mal project.”

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