Shack residents occupy vacant land as they seek to flee canal flooding
THE FREQUENT flooding of shacks in Greenpoint located near the water canal has led to residents occupying vacant land in the area in an attempt to get away from the problem.
Residents said that their cries to Sol Plaatje Municipality about the flooding problem have fallen on deaf ears.
“We have been living under constant threat of flooding for more than 25 years. The water canal situated near our shacks and the houses located close to the railway line overflows every time it rains. The walls of the canal even collapsed because all the rainwater from the city flows into this canal,” the residents said.
They accused the municipality of ignoring their plight and their right to dignity.
“The municipality wants us to live in the mud like pigs. We are humans and not animals. We cannot be subjected to such living conditions while people who we have voted into power merely fold their arms and watch.
“We had several meetings with the various municipal mayors over the years about the problem but this matter was never resolved. The mayors come and go but the newly-elected mayors just make the same promises as their predecessors.
“We cannot continue to live like this. The rainwater that floods our homes is filled with rubble and sewage. We are the ones that have to clean up the waste that is left in our homes and yards.
“The conditions we live under are very unhygienic and our children constantly get sick because of this problem.”
The residents said they have informed Sol Plaatje executive mayor Patrick Mabilo about their plans to occupy vacant land in the area.
“We had a meeting with the mayor on Wednesday, January 13, where we asked him to relocate us to vacant land. The mayor promised that they will have a meeting and address the matter. We, however, cannot wait for yet another council sitting – where the municipality does not address our challenges.
“We are occupying the vacant land temporarily and when the municipality has come up with a permanent solution to the problem then we will move.
“We are not occupying land because we are bored. The vacant land can be a temporary solution. There is still more rain coming and we cannot be subjected to the same living conditions. Our properties get damaged and we have to constantly replace our belongings. There is land available to solve the problem. We cannot just wait on other people or on politicians to sort out our problem, we have to take responsibility for our own lives.”
The Office of the Mayor failed to respond to media requests for comment on the matter.