Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Verania Follentine walks with her two-year-old daughter through the alleyways of Die Sloot, a township on the slopes of the mountain above Hangberg, an old fishing village of Hout Bay cast into the spotlight recently because of recent protests over housing, fishing quotas, and the alleged extra-judicial murder of a fisherman, Durick van Blerk.

The walkway is made of dirt, worn bare through the grass, alongside an open canal of waste water and sewage.

Verania Follentine walks with her daughter. Waste water and raw sewage flows past many of the houses, posing a health risk to residents. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Broken glass, bits of brick and stone, shells and cigarette butts lie beneath their slippered feet.

"Look how we have to live. The government doesn't care about us."

Children have few safe spaces to play. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Despite the nip in the air, courtesy of a brisk wind coming off the sea, the child wears a short-sleeved t-shirt, thin tracksuit pants, and fluffy sandals.

"If there was work for us, we wouldn't have to live like this. We could try at least to better our sitaution. But there are no jobs for our people." 

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The community is deeply divided along racial lines, and you get the sense that the available jobs are snapped up by those willing to work for less.

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"Cheap labour. That's what they (employers) want. Our people know what we are worth, so we won't take those jobs. But there are others who are willing to work for next to nothing, and you can't survive on that."

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The township is plagued by crime, a resultant social ill due to the lack of employment opportunities.

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Drug abuse is recognised as another driver of crime, but is also blamed on the rampant unemployment rate in the township.

Die Sloot is built on a north-facing mountainside overlooking Hout Bay. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"We used to live off the sea," says Derek Goff, who spent 35 years working on fishing vessels to provide for his family. 

Derek Goff has spent 35 years on the sea, but without a legal quota can no longer afford to provide for his family. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Now, he wanders the township aimlessly, picking up whatever odd-job he can.

"It's not safe here," Follentine says, "but we have nowhere else to go.

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"Look up here. Do you see any lights? We could have streetlights if we had streets. But even so, the City of Cape Town should at least provide lighting for us. 

"Our men go out to sea and the women are left at home. We get raped, we get robbed, we get attacked... it's not safe here. 

People in Die Sloot want decent homes, electricity, water and sanitation. They have built their homes with whatever materials they could find and make it homely. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"I have to wait for daylight to take my daughter out, because she can't stay cooped up in the house all day.

"We need to be looked after, protected, but this government doesn't care about us.

Derek Goff has spent 35 years on the sea, but without a legal quota can no longer afford to provide for his family. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"They say we are all poachers and hooligans and animals because of what we do to survive.

"They come here and make us empty promises. That's why some people riot.

People in Die Sloot want decent homes, electricity, water and sanitation. They have built their homes with whatever materials they could find and make it homely. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"If they can come here and just tell us, give us time frames, when will they build us houses, when will they give us electricity, when will they give us sanitation, running water, when will they do what they promise to do?

Die Sloot in Hangberg starts behind the council-built flats, and extends up the slopes of the Sentinel beyond the fire break. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

"They only want to come here when they need our votes, and we are gatvol."

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Cape Argus