A LEADER behind the city’s sanitation protests, former ANC councillor Andile Lili, emerged from a meeting with mayor Patricia de Lille yesterday declaring that they would proceed with a march later this month.
They met to discuss issues of land, housing and sanitation affecting residents in informal settlements. As the meeting was going on, a march led by the ANC over the same issues took place in the city centre.
Lili said the march would go ahead as planned under the banner of the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement on February 28. They had already applied to hold the march, and would go to court if their application was denied, he said.
“I am very disappointed and this is why we did not want to come to these meetings. As long as they don’t live in those conditions they will never understand the frustration. There is no need to talk anymore, we are prepared to fight,” he said.
Lili and ANC councillor Loyiso Nkohla and other leaders from informal settlement groups attended the meeting with city and provincial leaders at the Civic Centre. Those present included MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela and the Concerned Citizens Group, which includes prominent Capetonians such as former mayor Gordon Oliver and activist Terry Crawford-Browne.
The mediation group has been part of discussions between the city and informal settlement groups to find solutions to the challenges in townships.
Quoting the Bill of Rights, which says that each person has the right to adequate housing, Crawford-Browne said that residents had every right to be frustrated as it was a “disgrace” that people still lived in shacks 20 years into democracy.
“Never in the worst conditions in the refugee camps in Palestine did I see what I see in Khayelitsha. We need to eradicate shacks not merely replace the bucket system. Sanitation services in the informal settlements are deplorable,” he said.
Crawford-Browne said: “Ses’Khona is not unreasonable when they say there should be no more shacks. Money can and must be found. We are sitting on a social time bomb and we know it.”
Defending the city’s roll-out of services, De Lille said: “We need to understand the difficulties associated with service delivery within the context of 350 years of oppression – this legacy of underinvestment in many areas of the city cannot be undone in just 20 years of democracy.”
De Lille and Madikizela tried to appease residents, saying they were willing to engage with communities about their problems but Lili and Nkohla were “sick of talking”.
Nkohla said through their research they established that there are 32 spaces of city-owned land available for housing and said they would also ask national government to release land. He named some of the parcels of land as Youngsfield, Wingfield, Transnet land in Du Noon, Rondebosch Common and Swartklip land.
Nkohla told De Lille: “You are one mayor but you are running two cities. You have poverty, unemployment and then you have affluent and rich.”
De Lille said: “Yes we have two cities but put this in context of the past. People living in Constantia bought their properties, the city did not give them the money, those people bought it and it has nothing to do with us.”