Bobani must deliver on his promises to PE shack dwellers, say protesters


Councillor promises that informal settlements in NU29 will have services in two weeks

Photo of people in an informal settlement
Residents of two informal settlements in Motherwell, NU29, leave a meeting they held on Friday morning to discuss service delivery. Photo: Joseph Chirume

Protesters in Port Elizabeth say Mayor Mongameli Bobani has reneged on his promises made last year to provide services to informal settlements. Community leaders have demanded provision of electricity, water, toilets and roads. In response, Councillor Andile Lungisa (ANC) has promised services in two weeks time for NU29 informal settlements.

On Thursday night protests started in Lingelethu and Mahlabathini informal settlements. In Motherwell, burning tyres were used to barricade the R334.

Early on Friday morning, a lorry was set alight and a bus stoned. Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said two women and two men were arrested and charged with public violence and destroying essential infrastructure.

A community leader, who only identified herself as Mampondo, said, “People of Mandela Village, Wells Estate, Ikamvelihle and Ramaphosa informal settlements were provided with services soon after they protested. We were promised these services by Councillor Andile Lungisa last year at a meeting in August. We don’t have toilets and electricity in this area.”

Milisa Nzanzeka, who lives in Mahlabathini informal settlement, said there were over 825 households needing toilets. “We gave a petition to Bobani in February this year while he had visited Ikamvelihle. He told us that within a week everything would be up and running. These have turned out to be empty promises.”

Lungisa went to address protesters on Friday afternoon. “It was misinformation by some of their leaders who happened to be new to the negotiations,” he told GroundUp after the meeting. “We have a programme that is underway for bringing electricity and providing water and other services to all our informal settlements in the metro. We did the same in Wells Estate, Mandela Village, Ramaphosa and Ikamvelihle … I have just held a meeting with the protesting residents and we agreed to provide them with services within two weeks.”

Mampondo said that following Lungisa’s commitment, the protest has been called off, and will only resume if no progress happens by the end of the two-week deadline.

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