Category Archives: Luvuyo Mjekula

Cape Times: ‘Pain of broken promises makes us resort to violence’

Road blockades are not violence. Physically harming human beings is violence. Can someone please volunteer to post TAC and the Cape Times a dictionary…

‘Pain of broken promises makes us resort to violence’

October 14, 2010 Edition 1


KHAYELITSHA residents living in unserviced shacks say pain caused by empty promises is what leads then to protest violently, burn buses, blockade roads and trash streets.

They were responding yesterday to criticism of their protests by the Social Justice Coalition, Equal Education, the Western Cape region of Cosatu and the Treatment Action Campaign. The organisations described the squatters’ actions as “immature, ignorant and a show of contempt for communities”.

They said violence was not the way to address problems.

Nosamkelo Moyikwa, 33, said: “We want houses – there are no services in our shacks. There is no electricity and we don’t have toilets.”

Threatening more violent protests, a resident shouted: “Even (Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima) Vavi says there is no other solution than dolo phezulu (knees up).”

At least two buses were damaged and roads, including Lansdowne Road, were closed several times over more than a week as the residents heeded Abahlali baseMjondolo’s call for a week of protests against poor services.

Abahlali yesterday lashed back at TAC for publicly attacking the campaign that fights for the rights of the homeless, without first approaching it.

“We have called for an informal settlements strike in Cape Town and we have welcomed the blockading of roads. All means of engaging the government had been explored over many years, but were ignored,” Abahlali said. “We came to this decision after years of being ignored and repressed.”

Meanwhile, anger and frustration was written on the faces of the squatters when the Cape Times visited BT Section yesterday.

“We are so sick and tired, we are not giving anyone our votes,” said Liziwe Malashe, 48.

She said violent protests were the only way to get the government’s attention, considering they were made many empty promises.

The residents said meeting government officials in community halls did not solve their problems.

They had lived in the area since 1994 and said the City of Cape Town and the Housing Department had promised to move them to another piece of land where they would be given proper houses and services by July.

Instead, they were told by “uncaring” government officials that they were not even on the city’s maps.

Because she had no electricity in her house, Moyikwa had to use R150 of her children’s grant to rent electricity from a nearby house.

A nearby bush they had used to relieve themselves because they have no toilets has been fenced.

Grahamstown: Squatters won’t vote if no service delivery

Squatters won’t vote if no service delivery
by Luvuyo Mjekula

Angry residents of Xolani squatter settlement in Tantyi are “sick and tired of false promises” and will not vote in the upcoming general elections if lack of service delivery continues.

The residents accuse their ward councillor Ntsikelelo Stamper of failing to fulfil his promises to develop the informal settlement. The squatters claim that they have been living without proper housing, toilets and roads and have had no electricity or taps for more than 20 years. The situation is so serious that the residents have resolved to take to the streets and demand action.

On Sunday afternoon, while scores of other Xolani residents feasted at a local traditional ceremony, drinking umqombothi, the concerned residents held a meeting in an open field where they decided that they will march to the City Hall next Tuesday. The residents have approached the municipality and have secured permission to march. They want mayor Pumelelo Kate to intervene.

“Our houses are falling apart, especially when it rains. It’s painful because they have been promising to help us with housing and roads,” said Diana Booi, an obviously fed up 80-year-old resident. “They (government) must help us,” she said.

A furious Thandiwe Sam told Grocotts: “We have been voting for these councilors but they do nothing for us.”

Another resident, Peterson Maswana says nothing is right in the informal settlement. The 90-year-old chairperson of the residents’ working committee said he was concerned about the dump that has developed in the area just below the local Boy Boy Mginywa pre-school. “This place is dirty, it’s like we live in a veld,” said Maswana.

Meanwhile, teachers at the pre-school are worried about the hazard the dump was causing to the children’s health. Principal Florence Gongqa said that the foul smell of dead animals and rubbish is causing flies which easily find their way to the kitchen.

Gongqa said she reported the problem to the municipality again last week but nothing has happened. She said that according to a municipal official, the dump is illegal. “The official said that in the municipality’s map this land is not a dumping site,” said Gongqa.

She is planning to ask the municipality to give the piece of land to the pre-school to use it to build a vegetable garden instead.

The dump is a few metres from Maswana’s house. He and his neighbours complained that councilor Stamper has done nothing for them. They told Grocott’s Mail that the councilor told them that money to build houses for them was available but was inexplicably used to develop another ward. New squatter settlements are getting developed while Xolani squatters continue to live in appalling conditions.
In a meeting at Tantyi Hall two weeks ago, the residents apparently informed Stamper of their dissatisfaction and their intention to take drastic action.

The councilor has also been accused of failing to honour a resolution taken at the same meeting, to elect two residents who would accompany the councilor when he would approach the municipality with the residents’ grievances. They said the councilor did not pitch at the arranged time and when they called him, he said he was out of town.
In an attempt to get help, the residents said they approached the local ANC and SACP branches with no success. The decision not to vote and the ensuing protest march, are last resorts. “We are not going to vote because nothing is being done for us,” said a furious Bennie Belwane.
When contacted, councillor Stamper said the residents should “go ahead and march. I’ll meet them at City Hall. I can handle them”.