Frustrated by lack of services, shack dwellers block Baden Powell Drive
“The City will never help us until we protest.”
Angry residents of Enkanini informal settlement, Khayelitsha, barricaded Baden Powell Drive with burning tyres and tree branches on Monday morning. At the corner of Baden Powell and Oscar Mpetha roads, traffic officials redirected traffic. The protesters demanded that the City of Cape Town allocate them plots of land and deliver services to shack dwellers.
“No one will stand in our way until we get what we want. We want service delivery,” said community leader Myolisi Magibisela.
Addressing the protesters, he said, “We will burn tyres every evening and morning. The City will never help us until we protest.”
“We want each family to have their own plot so that they can know where their RDP house will stand,” said Magibisela. “When you have your own plots, you can extend your house without asking for the City’s permission … We stay in cramped shack while our families are growing. We also have to keep smelly portable toilets in those shacks.”
Residents also want a clinic, schools and roads in Enkanini. “We go to far off clinics in other townships when we are sick,” said Magibisela.
He said about 200 families in Enkanini have no access to electricity. They use paraffin stoves to cook and candles for light.
Roads were needed for access for ambulances and firefighters.
“We haven’t had water for a long time. We are forced to cross Baden Powell Drive to relieve ourselves in the bushes because our toilets don’t flush,” he said. “We used to get water from these water taps for many years. Now, we don’t know what has caused them to stop producing water.”
Ward Councillor Andile Lili tried to calm the angry crowd. He said Enkanini has no large underground water and sewage pipes because the City never planned the area for human settlement. “Residents chopped down trees and put up their shacks because they could not pay rent where they stayed. Their number increased over the years,” he said.
Lili said the City would bring Mshengu (portable) toilets. “It doesn’t make sense to bring concrete flush toilets while the available ones don’t flush and water is not available,” he said.
Magibisela said Mshengu toilets “would be a step backwards” and a return to the apartheid bucket system. “It is cheaper for the City to maintain available flush toilets than to buy new Mshengus and employ new janitors,” he argued.
Lili said he would get the City to bring water trucks.
But resident Nomthunzi Jonas said, “We don’t want water from the trucks because it’s so dirty you can’t drink it. We are scared to even bathe with the water from the City trucks.”
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