Residents ‘living like animals’ without services, despite party promises
FOR years residents of Sicelo township in Midvaal have been fighting for service delivery, including access to running water and the provision of low-cost housing, but the situation remains unchanged because residents themselves have been shifting priorities and preventing authorities from working in the area, the DA councillor for the region has claimed.
It is a health hazard with pools of stinking water on the streets. Some residents are receiving free electricity because of illegal connections.
Now Gauteng Human Settlements spokesperson Keith Khoza has said that Sicelo is not suitable for development and a new region needs to be identified for development.
“We discussed it with community leaders to identify land because it is not safe to do work in that area. Again, there was a proposal to move some section from Sicelo to Savanna City, but people were reluctant to move.
“And some people refused because they are not South Africans and they know they don’t qualify for houses and are afraid to be exposed,” he said.
DA councillor Amelia Tsukudu has also put the blame on the residents for delaying development in the area and accused them of interrupting water and electricity projects.
“For the past three financial years there was a budget of R24 million for water and electricity in Sicelo, but in 2016 residents protested against the project and demanded houses. So that money was used to develop other areas. We are still committed to provide service in Sicelo, but our officials are afraid to enter the area because residents are fighting them,” she said.
Councillor Mike Ndebele echoed Tsukudu’s claims, saying residents changed priorities.
“That is why we end up where we are. We wanted to bring water and electricity but people wanted land. Now they have approached me about electricity but that money was used for other projects in other areas,” he said.
Itumeleng Moloi is doing laundry from a bucket next to a communal tap and complains that the environment isn’t suitable for people to live in.
“This area is dangerous, especially for our children’s health with openly flowing sewage. We have been fighting for service delivery but government is not willing to help us,” said, the 22-year-old mother of one, adding that authorities should at least provide basics: water and electricity.
“We are forced to connect electricity illegally because we have been pleading with government to give us electricity. And this is dangerous to our kids, especially when its raining. It’s killed three children already.
“The reason you see me here washing my clothes is because I stay far and there’s no tap nearby.
“We feel used, because the government would promise us heaven and Earth during the elections and after that they forget about us,” she said.
Last month, ANC secretary general Ace Magushule visited the area and walked from door to door, listening to grievances from the residents.
One resident, Pule Mpopella, was convinced that Magashule would bring change after he saw their struggles.
“They (Midvaal Municipality) seem happy when we burn tyres and trucks, because we have been protesting and they don’t do anything.
“I don’t know if they want us to burn more cars so they can give us services. But we are not going to vote in this area because the DA is treating us badly,” said Mpopella.
Mohlolo Tshabalala echoed Moloi’s sentiments, saying Magashule’s visit should have brought change.
“These mobile toilets are not good for us, they are stinking. We are living like animals in this area.”