SHACK dwellers living near Soul City, in King Senare Forestview, believe that they were “let down” after their ward councillor failed to arrive at a meeting that he had apparently convened to discuss service delivery issues yesterday morning.
Residents said that they had been living at the informal settlement without water, electricity and sanitation for the past ten years.
“There is one free-standing tap that is very far from our shanties. There is another tap that is situated inside someone’s yard, which is permanently locked, so the community consisting of about 61 households do not have easy access to water. The meeting was convened by the ward councillor. He has failed us and has lied to the community. We are tired of waiting for services.”
Sol Plaatje municipal Speaker, Elizabeth Johnson, was the only official to attend the meeting.
She reprimanded the ward councillor for his absence and later adjourned the meeting until yesterday afternoon.
A resident, Mervyn Mohapi, said that he was concerned about the risk of women, children and the elderly being raped or becoming victims of crime when they were forced to relieve themselves in the veld at night.
“We are not even afforded the luxury of a bucket system. There have already been a few attempted rapes during the night. There is a major problem if someone is suffering from diarrhoea,” said Mohapi.
“If we dare to complain about the lack of service delivery, we are threatened with eviction. I was warned that I should get a ‘damned good lawyer’ after I raised grievances about the poor condition of the infrastructure.”
Other residents believe that they are caught in the middle of a political tussle where they are being held ransom by warring politicians.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Abel Sebeela said that water, electricity and sanitation services should have been installed last year.
“Various letters were sent to the Premier’s Office the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs as well as the councillor.
“There are repeated attempts by the ward councillor and other municipal officials to prevent the installation of basic infrastructure services. A single mother was thrown out of her shack in January. The land has already been surveyed.”
Another resident, Enock Diteho, stated that residents were becoming increasingly impatient.
“We want to prevent a situation where the community starts blockading roads and burning tyres in angry protests. However, it appears as if it is only then that the authorities take notice of complaints.”
The ward councillor, Ishmail Petoro, indicated that he had no knowledge of yesterday morning’s meeting.
Johnson stated that she would discipline the ward councillor for delaying the development.
“The community is entitled to services. The meeting was reconvened and the ward councillor has been instructed to attend.”