Res­i­dents ‘liv­ing like an­i­mals’ with­out ser­vices, de­spite party prom­ises

The Sunday Independent - - METRO - MANYANE MANYANE [email protected]

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.”

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