Hundreds of protesters descend on City Hall

Wells Estate informal settlement residents claim they are forced to relieve themselves in nearby bushes due to a lack of services in the area

Wells Estate residents gathered outside City Hall on Thursday, 14 March 2019
Wells Estate residents gathered outside City Hall on Thursday, 14 March 2019
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani was on hand to put out yet another fire on Thursday as protesters expressed their frustration outside City Hall.

Well Estate informal settlement residents protested outside the mayor's office demanding the municipality install services where they reside.

The residents illegally invaded land in 2017 in ward 60 and have been evicted several times as well as having their shacks demolished under the DA-led coalition.

Their demands included the installation of electricity, water and toilets because they say they are tired of reliving themselves in bushes.

Wells Estate resident Neliswa Dom said the conditions they lived under were painful and said they did not invade land because they wanted to but they had no other option.

"Officials in the municipality sold our RDP houses. Old people have been waiting for years for houses but nothing.

"Some of us get bitten by snakes on our bums because we relieve ourselves in bushes and even those bushes are full and there's no space anymore," Dom said.

She said they had on several occasions called their ward councillor, Mvuzo Mbelekan, but he allegedly ignored them.

Asanda Mayeza said she had been evicted and had her home demolished four times.

Mayeza said she spent 16 days in jail following protests in 2017.

"We're here because we've been ignored by our ward councillor as we've written to him several times.

"We're victims of politicians because when it comes to elections and voting, they know who we are and where we live but when it comes to addressing our issues, they are nowhere to be found," Mayeza said.

Nolukhoyo Toyo said in the area there were more than 500 people sharing a communal tap.

"We were one of the first informal settlements in Motherwell yet we see other areas receiving services," Toyo said.

Addressing the residents, Bobani said work to provide residents with electricity would start on Friday next week.

"This coalition government is committed to bringing services to our communities," he said.

"Motherwell is one of the areas that was identified for the electrification and bringing water. We've started in areas such as Ramaphosa Village, Nomakanjani and Asinavalo.

"As our agreement, all informal settlements will be serviced. We're still finalising the issue of toilets because there are chemical toilets that some people do not want."