Khayelitsha CAN volunteer Sindisa Monakali said improvements are not done in informal settlements and the Cape Flats as the City does not recognise these areas. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency
Khayelitsha CAN volunteer Sindisa Monakali said improvements are not done in informal settlements and the Cape Flats as the City does not recognise these areas. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency

Cape Flats residents lambast City for failing to address basic needs

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Dec 24, 2020

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Cape Town - Cape Flats communities and townships continue to remain neglected, under-developed and are becoming progressively worse as improvements are made to more affluent areas in the city.

Improvement and cleaning are under way in the already pristine Sea Point and surrounds with the more recent and widely lauded Sea Point precinct rehabilitation.

Mayco member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien said the project commenced in October, at around R10 million, funded by the City’s operating and capital budget.

Rehabilitation of the area included regrassing of the pavilion, and “beautification” through artwork and indigenous plants to be added next month.

Another major project was the Experiential Education Garden in Green Point. The park contains a Biodiversity Showcase Garden, outdoor labyrinth, adventure play park, wetland garden and water systems, open lawn areas and shaded spaces.

Khayelitsha CAN volunteer Sindisa Monakali said the allocation of resources by the Western Cape Government has been and is still very much decided on geographical areas, based on class and race.

He said improvements are not done in informal settlements and the Cape Flats as the City does not recognise these areas, largely due to illegal occupations.

“The Khayelitsha drainage system has been flooded with water since the beginning of level 5 of lockdown and since today nothing until now,” he said.

He said the City’s response to infrastructure challenges with roads, housing, sewage pipelines, flooded water and lighting, in struggling communities, was “arrogant” and “anti-poor”.

Quinton Adams from Kuils River, referred to as the Shack Builder, has devoted his life to provide dignity to those less fortunate through comfortable and safe homes, removing them from weak shacks.

“The economic inequality is clearly visible in the social architecture of Cape Town – extremely rich and extremely poor areas. We see an unprecedented collapse of the infrastructure in the extremely poor areas. In some areas the sewage systems are blocked and the streets are filled with these sewage. These areas are collapsing and the degradation of the infrastructure is visible.”

Stanley Jacobs, originally from Parkwood, said: “By travelling around and working on the Cape Flats, I’ve seen that we don’t get that same help.”

Jacobs has been trying to establish a library in Parkwood. He said several Cape Flats areas lack basic recreational spaces and facilities.

“Nothing is being done to elevate people and children (in these areas),” he said.

Ndifuna Ukwazi activist Buhle Booi said the City has failed to advance the principles of spatial justice, evident in its uneven distribution of resources.

“The problem of poor infrastructural conditions in the Cape flats is a decades-old problem and as to why it is not being addressed lies in the ideological orientation of the City of Cape Town, which allows the interests of those with power and money to assume precedence above the interests of the poor and marginalised, poor and working class communities.”

Cape Argus

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