“People have been staying in backyards for years. Some have been on the housing waiting list for as long as 20 years,” said Suraya du Plessis, secretary of the Rondevlei Ratepayers Association. Du Plessis said new houses are to be built in New Woodlands, Mitchells Plain. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).
“People have been staying in backyards for years. Some have been on the housing waiting list for as long as 20 years,” said Suraya du Plessis, secretary of the Rondevlei Ratepayers Association. Du Plessis said new houses are to be built in New Woodlands, Mitchells Plain. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).

Photo Essay: Siqalo squatters in desperate need of housing

By Rusana Philander Time of article published May 11, 2018

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Cape Town - The recent violent protests over the demand for electricity and water in the Siqalo informal settlement outside Mitchells Plain has put the spotlight on the housing backlog in the community.

Recently a group of Mitchells Plain residents, who attended a meeting on the housing issue, wanted to know when houses would be built for them.

The housing backlog in the Western Cape stands at about 575000.

READ MORE: Street tensions reflect anger of those sold short

“People have been staying in backyards for years. Some have been on the housing waiting list for as long as 20 years,” said Suraya du Plessis, secretary of the Rondevlei Ratepayers Association.

Du Plessis said new houses are to be built in New Woodlands, Mitchells Plain.

Chairperson of the New Woodlands Residents Association, Shaheen van Nelson, said a new housing project was in the pipeline, but would probably commence only in 2020 or 2022.

Siqalo Residents were protesting in Jakes Gerwel Drive for a service delivery in the area. The protest turned into violence when Siqalo residence clashed with Colorado Park in Mitchells Plain. Picture: Cindy Waxa /AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY/ANA
Siqalo residents say they’re holding the government responsible to deliver on promises of housing and services. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).
HARDSHIP: Busisiwe Ntsika, left, and Siphokazi Gontsi live in the Siqalo informal settlement where life is difficult in the overcrowded conditions, without water and electricity. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency (ANA)

“The provincial department of human settlements is planning to build 800 houses to be allocated to the backyard dwellers of New Woodlands and Kosovo informal settlement residents. It will be an integrated housing project,” Van Nelson said.

In 2011, there were land invasions in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain. Residents invaded the Swartklip sports field, where they erected shacks that were later demolished by the police. This was followed by land invasions at Kapteinsklip train station.

Shaheed Mahomed, of the Water Crisis Coalition, said due to the shortage of housing in Cape Town, people were living in overcrowded conditions. “Some people want to racialise the situation in the Siqalo informal settlement, but black and coloured people were staying in the informal settlement, because they don’t have houses.

“Over the years, the City of Cape Town has been building fewer houses although there is a lot of vacant land in Cape Town.”

The recent violent protests over the demand for electricity and water in the Siqalo informal settlement outside Mitchells Plain has put the spotlight on the housing backlog in the community. Picture Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).
TOUGH GOING: Siqalo residents say the government must deliver on their promises of housing and services to needy communities.

On Thursday, women in the Siqalo informal settlement were sitting in the sun doing their washing. One of the women, Andiswas Njenge, 35, from Siqalo, said they could only do their washing on sunny days.

“When it rains we can’t do any washing. The taps in the camp are too far to walk to. I have been staying here with my children for seven years and every winter, our shack gets flooded. And every winter theyget flu. Some children have also died from tuberculosis. We have no electricity and we have to cook on fires,” she said.

RELATED: More talk, less protest

Chairperson of the Siqalo Committee, Luvuyo Booi, said there was still uncertainty where they would be relocated to. This was in response to Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, saying Siqalo residents were to be relocated.

Faeza Meyer from the Housing Assembly, said: “People want better housing. They don’t want to live in shacks anymore. But the housing department is not planning to build a lot of houses. As you can see a lot of people are still staying in backyard shacks.

“During the land invasions in Mitchells Plain in 2011 people were protesting about houses, but seven years later, no houses have been built.”

The housing department did not respond to a request for comment.

Picture: Cindy Waxa /AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY/ ANA
Picture Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency (ANA).

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Cape Argus

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