Relocated Khayelitsha residents want the basic services they were promised

Residents say ward councillor Andile Lili said they would get electricity, taps and toilets

By Vincent Lali

Photo of a woman
Natasha Khethani lives with her husband and two children, aged two and eight, in Zwelitsha, without basic services. Photo: Vincent Lali

After being moved more than once since 2005, residents in Zwelitsha, Khayelitsha, say they want the City of Cape Town to install electricity for their shacks, flush toilets, and taps. About 60 shack dwellers say they were promised these basic services when they were relocated. Presently they have one communal tap, 20 mobile chemical toilets and no electricity.

In 2005 the City of Cape Town removed a few shack-dwellers from beside a railway line near Kuyasa station in Enkanini informal settlement to a temporary relocation area in Zwelitsha, Khayelitsha, according to ward councillor Andile Lili.

Others then joined them, he said.

Some, such as Nomzamo Libalele, lived at the new site for ten years, without toilets, electricity and water taps.

Then in December 2017, the City moved the Zwelitsha residents to a nearby area to create space for the Western Cape Education Department to build a primary school. It is scheduled to open in April.

The residents relocated their existing shacks, and the City gave them building materials.

Libalele said Lili told them last year that the City would install electricity, communal taps and toilets before it moved them to where they are now.

“It is distressing that I stayed in a place without basic services only to be relocated to a similar place again,” she said.

Shack-dweller Inga Ramase agreed: “I thought the situation would change when I arrived here, but it is still the same.”

Lili said, “I and the City learned from experience that if the City installs basic facilities such as toilets before residents arrive, some residents tend to vandalise the facilities.”

But Lili admitted that toilets were supposed to be installed last year. “I don’t understand why there are still no toilets and electricity for those residents,” he said.

According to Lili, the residents are to be moved to section 37 in Makhaza next. He said the City wanted to give the residents permanent serviced sites there. “I have stopped them from moving the residents to Makhaza so that we can discuss plot sizes first … The actual construction of houses will be a process.”

Libalele said buying electricity from owners of RDP houses is expensive. The electricity also trips. “When the box trips, I stop cooking until other shack-dwellers call out and say it is my turn to cook,” said Libalele.

She said the mobile toilets the City provides are far from satisfactory. “After you relieve yourself, you come out smelly as the stench seeps into your clothes and stays,” she said. Her five-year-old son is too scared to use the toilet. He uses a bucket or goes to an open field.

Shack-dweller Natasha Khethani said, “Sometimes the toilets get so dirty that I vomit before I relieve myself … Sometimes they get so hot that you come out of them dripping with sweat.”

Councillor Anda Ntsodo, Mayoral Committee Member for Area East, said, “It was communicated extensively all along that their relocation is a temporary measure to make way for the school. There is a process under way to establish a permanent site.”

Mayco member responsible for informal settlements Councillor Xanthea Limberg said: “It was agreed with the community that they would initially be supplied with temporary services such as chemical toilets until processes for installation of infrastructure are finalized … Once this stage of the process is completed, the installation of toilets will commence.”


Published originally on GroundUp .

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