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Imbizo backfires on Buffalo City Mayor

Xola Pakati failed to respond to people’s grievances

Photo of woman talking
Ncumisa Cingane voices her complaint to Mayor Xola Pakati during an Imbizo in Mdantsane on Thursday. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik
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In an informal settlement in Mdantsane a woman recently gave birth in her shack because the ambulance could not access her house. This is what Buffalo City Metro Municipality Mayor Xola Pakati heard on Thursday during his mayoral imbizo held at Mdantsane Orlando Stadium.

Pakati was to report back on service delivery in Mdantsane and surrounding areas and inform community of future plans.

However, community members at the meeting said the municipality has not done much and a lot still needs to be done. Community members spoke about the lack of toilets, bad road conditions, a lack of houses and unfinished housing projects.

Ncumisa Cingane from CC18 informal settlement in NU18 could not hold back her tears when she told the story of the woman she helped give birth in her shack. Cingane said she was born in CC18, grew up there, and now she has her own shack where she lives with her two children. Ten years ago, they were moved to make way for RDP houses. They were not given temporary housing.

“Because we were hoping that our houses were going to be built soon we didn’t argue. We used our old material to build our shacks. It’s been years now living there . What happened to our approved budget?” asked Cingane.

She said the area is a wetland. It has no roads. The shacks are old and because most people are unemployed they cannot afford to buy new materials.

In his address Pakathi said R61.5 million has been put aside to upgrade roads in Mdantsane communities and surrounding areas; R10 million for electrification of informal settlements; R120 million split evenly over three years for electricity for all wards in Mdantsane and surrounding areas.

Community members who were interviewed by GroundUp after the imbizo said the areas most affected by a lack of services were not mentioned in Pakati’s speech – such as Masibulele, Barcelona, Hani Park and Walter Sisulu informal settlement.

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