BRIEF | CAPE TOWN 

Masiphumelele residents reject City mediators

They want to select their own person, and they also want a plan for the development of the township to be made public before negotiations over contested issues begin

Photo of people outside a community hall
In March, a meeting between Masiphumelele residents and City officials ended in chaos. Photo: Thembela Ntongana
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On Thursday evening Masiphumelele residents gathered at Ukhanyo Primary School to decide whether or not to accept mediators hired by the City of Cape Town. This comes after a meeting on the 14 March ended chaotically.

At issue is Erf 5131, a piece of vacant land that residents say former mayor Nomaindia Mfeketho acquired for the community but the City will not allow them to occupy. Another burning issue is that electricity has not been restored to some sections of the Wetlands informal settlement after the fire in 2015.

The four mediators were questioned by residents who wondered how they would serve the community when they were hired and paid by the City.

Community leader Lunga Mathambo said, “The last time we had a meeting with the City we agreed on two things: a task team and a memorandum of understanding.” He said he didn’t feel that mediation was needed at this time.

Councillor Eddie Andrews, Mayoral Committee Member for Area South, said the mediators were “embarking on a consultative process with all Masiphumelele stakeholders to improve communication” with the City.

But Tsepo Moletsana, who chairs the Masiphumelele Leadership Structure, said in a statement on Friday that the facilitators were of no use at the present moment.

Moletsana said by the end of next week, the leadership will be selecting a shortlist of suitable candidates to mediate and the City should choose from this list by the end of May 2017. The residents intend for the selected person to replace the City mediators (the person would in effect be a negotiator on behalf of Masiphumelele residents). 

“The citizens of Masiphumelele would like, as a matter of urgency, to see a  Masiphumelele development plan in the public domain and will be insisting the mediator puts that demand to the City before negotiations can begin,” said Moletsana.

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