‘Forgotten’ elderly losing hope
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.”