Informal settlement dwellers demand services from Stellenbosch municipality
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Cape Town - The Azania informal settlement residents have declared war against the Stellenbosch municipality over its failure to provide basic services to the area for more than three years.
The residents occupied the land in 2018 and it has been home to more than 5 000 former backyard dwellers.
Community leader Zola Ndalase said that the municipality had disregarded numerous requests to meet the leadership of the settlement since 2019.
“We fought for the land with the initial owner and the police when the municipality eventually bought it. Since then they have not erected any toilets, taps or installed electricity since 2018. We have had several marches to the municipality but to no avail. As far as the Constitution is concerned, people who have been staying on municipal land for more than six months are eligible to receive basic services,” he said.
Ndalase said meetings with the ward councillor were constantly postponed without justification, while the municipality has been “picky on which letters to respond to”.
“They are only offering lip service saying the plan to render services in the area is in the pipelines with no proof to offer us. Instead the municipality is using the police to intimate us.
“I received a text last week summoning me to the police station after the municipality apparently complained about me being responsible for the escalating number of shacks in the area. They want me to be arrested with other members of the community because that is what they do - when one stands up for lack of services in Stellenbosch they resort to threats,” said Ndalase.
Street committee member Neziswa Saliso said that water was only supplied to the community after the outbreak of Covid-19. She said at times the tanks were not refilled for almost two weeks while people used the veld as toilets.
Municipal spokesperson Stuart Grobbelaar said the municipality had responded to numerous complaints and queries from Ndalase and had, on many occasions, responded to the Cape Argus regarding Ndalase’s claims.
“We have nothing further to add at this stage. We cannot continue to comment on the complaints of one individual,” Grobbelaar.