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Residents of Marikana informal settlement left in the dark

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A year after High Court ordered City of Cape Town to buy the land but the matter is still in court

Photo of an informal settlement
Thousands of people live in Marikana informal settlement on private land. Archive photo: Ashraf Hendricks
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More than a year after the City of Cape Town was ordered to purchase the private land on which the Marikana informal settlement is located in Philippi East, the matter is still before the courts. Community leaders and residents say they are tired of living in limbo.

Since occupying the land in 2013, the residents have battled waves of evictions and fought for services.

Judge Chantal Fortuin handed down the landmark judgment in the Western Cape High Court in August 2017, ensuring that thousands of people would not be evicted from their homes.

“We still want more [street] lights here. We want electricity. We want more toilets. But everytime we ask, we are told that the land is private and the that the City cannot provide any services on it. We know that the land is private; we are waiting for them to buy it. As much as we as community leaders are in constant talks and meetings with the City, we are still in the dark about the land issue,” said Daluxolo Naki.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements Xanthea Limberg said, “All or most of the parties in the case appealed against the judgement handed down by the Western Cape High Court. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal was granted. The parties are now preparing the record for the hearing in the Supreme Court of Appeal, whereafter the court will allocate a hearing date”.

Limberg said no plans in terms of development of the area could be finalised until the court case was concluded. This is due to the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act which prohibits a municipality from spending public money on developing privately-owned property.

Marikana in the dark

Residents were promised 10 months ago that lights would be installed in an effort to reduce crime. A month ago the first high-mast light was switched on by Mayor Patricia de Lille. It was installed on the border of the privately-owned land.

“It makes absolutely no difference. Most of Marikana is still in the dark,” said Naki. “One half of the light is providing light to Lower Crossroads, which is right opposite Marikana, while the other half is shining this side.”

Resident Ntomboxolo Ngxabazi said, “In Marikana 2 there are places that literally no one walks in because it is a hunting ground for criminals. It is extremely dangerous and it is dark. So for some of us living here, that light has made absolutely no difference”.

Another resident said so far she has seen no change and no patrols from police. “I don’t live far from that [high-mast] light and it only provides light to a small number of shacks in the area.”

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TOPICS:  Housing Land