Anger over amenities

ROB KNOWLES

RESIDENTS in the Ekuphumleni informal settlement at Kenton-on-Sea are angry that, despite reassurance from the Ndlambe municipality, they still have no electricity or other basic amenities.

Chairman of the informal settlement sector committee, Mziwakhe Ernest Mgweba, said all they were demanding were rights granted to them in the constitution.

“We need electricity,” he told TotT. “The Eskom budget was approved for the electrification of Kenton and Marselle, but only Marselle received electricity. We are victims of the democracy we voted for. We do not have equal rights.”

Mgweba said he and his fellow residents were going to march on the Kenton municipal offices two weeks ago but, after Ndlambe mayor Sipho Tandani said he would visit them to discuss matters, the march was called off.

“Still, we have come too far now to turn back,” said Mgweba. “Our people are losing their homes and even their lives through having to use candles and paraffin stoves when they have been promised electricity. How many more must die before they receive the electricity they have been promised?”

Another complaint is the installation of sewerage tanks adjacent to the residences in the area.

“The smell is unbearable,” said Mgweba.

“Everyone has a right to human dignity, but not apparently the people of Ekuphumleni. Our children are not having good results at school because they cannot read in the dark. They cannot watch TV and school programmes broadcast there. The lack of electricity is seriously affecting our future and the future of our children.

“We are now saying enough is enough. We demand what is our by right, and we will fight to get it.”

Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said the mayor had met and spoken to the residents of the Ekuphumleni informal settlement and explained the situation to them, together with timelines and deadlines for the completion of both the promised housing and the supply of electricity.

“It is difficult, we know,” said Mbolekwa. “The mayor has spoken to these people with regard to resolving their issues. But government does not always run at the pace the residents would like. When they hear a deadline they do not like they complain, but there is little we can do to speed up the process. We are doing all we can to help our people.”

Mbolekwa said the mayor would continue to engage with the communities and try and speed up the process. Still, he warned, procedures needed to be followed, and there was no way around them.

“We are currently surveying the land to establish the number of houses that can be built, the sewerage system and the supply of electricity,” he said.

He added the mayor would be providing a timeline for the implementation of these systems shortly.

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