Informal residents want houses and toilets – and to be moved out of ‘unfit’places

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By MATT MEDVED

The SA Communist Party held a mass meeting for disgruntled Gugulethu residents at the Lucas Mbembe Community Creche last night to air their grievances with disaster response and service deliveries.

More than 120 residents showed up at the discussion, chaired by Cape Town SACP secretary Luthando Nogcinisa and SACP street organiser Lindile Sonyoka.

“This morning we went door to door to visit people affected by this disaster and they said the City of Cape Town had not sent anyone to help,” said Sonyoka.

Disaster Management logistical officer Aboubaker Kippie said he had personally delivered food parcels to the Lotus informal settlements and was shocked by the allegations of neglect. Several residents confirmed he had brought food and blankets to them last week.

But Lotus area ward councillor Mandisa Matshoba said that while Disaster Management had not responded quickly enough to the flooding, the real issue was about housing rather than food and blankets.

She said she had spoken to Housing MEC Nomvula Mokonyane about the issue and she was coming to visit the Lotus community today.

She also conceded Disaster Management was likely understaffed because of the other flooding and that the tangled electricity lines made it very difficult for trucks to enter informal settlements to help.

And while Gugulethu residents were generally appreciative of the relief, they were also more seriously concerned with the housing problems and lack of service delivery.

“The food and blankets, they aren’t helping. We already have food,” said Z Mbarane, a woman from the Lotus informal settlement. “What we need is work. We need houses, we want toilets.”

One woman asked that Disaster Management assist the community to get rid of excess water because it was exposing their children to diseases.

Lotus resident Jackson Mkhizwane said he did not think they should have to stay in the area as it was unfit to live in.

“Why should we just sit on top of a pile of rubbish where water is easily absorbed and will rise again as soon as it rains?” he said. “This is a cheap place where people cannot live, we need to be relocated. It has been 13 years since the democratic elections. People like Chris Hani gave their lives for freedom but most people are still not really free.”

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~ by Matt Medved on July 31, 2007.

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