Harare, Khayelitsha. File picture: Cindy Waxa

Cape Town - The desperate need for the provision of housing for those living in informal settlements and an additional two police stations topped the list of demands from Khayelitsha residents during an Imbizo.

This came up during a recent report-back session hosted by the Department of Public Service and Administration as well as Deputy Minister for Human Settlements, Zou Kota-Fredericks, following a meeting in the area six months ago.

But residents took the opportunity to tell government officials that they were tired of promises and instead were looking for tangible results.

The packed hall saw hundreds of residents airing grievances that ranged from a lack of proper sanitation, decent housing, the availability of drug rehab centres, early childhood development centres as well as more police resources.

This comes as the Social Justice Coalition is preparing to take the City of Cape Town and the Ministry of Policing to court to provide services to informal settlements in the province.

Assurances by the DPSA’s project director Metsantika Seopela that after having engaged with the City and being told that funds had been allocated for the upgrades of five informal settlements over the next three years, did little to appease residents.

“The issue of building houses will not take place overnight, the City has committed to building close to 4 000 houses,” he said.

But Nothembile Sondo was not convinced. The Makhaza resident said she had been living in a shack since 1992 and has applied for housing numerous times with no success.

For 77-year-old Edna Ngwane who lives in Site C, the need for a police station in the area was a top priority as she stated that nobody was safe from criminals.

“Crime in Site C is very bad, our people are dying, our children are getting raped and old women such as myself cannot walk freely anymore because we are targeted,” she said.

“The mobile police station we have is parked inside a shopping centre and closes at the very time we need it the most.”

Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum, Ndithini Tyido, said: “When it comes to service delivery, our public servants need to take off whatever political hats they have and ensure that they do their work.

“The facts are the people of Taiwan (Site C) have not had access to toilets in all the years they have been there, that BM section is located on wetlands, when are government officials going to do what they have to, to improve services? All we want as residents of Khayelitsha are services.”

Nwabisa Mgwadleka from Makhaza said: “We are really tired of always coming to meetings like this one and hearing about plans that never come to be.

“We sit and we listen and we talk but nothing tangible ever comes out of it, just more: ‘We will do this in three years or we have budged for it or are looking into it.’

“We are sick of it. Khayelitsha needs services, our people need houses, access to toilets, enough police, basic things but these things never happen while we are asking peacefully.

“Something only seems to happen after tyres burn but we don’t want to be criminals before we can get what our government promised to provide us when they got elected.

“I for one am sick of these Imbizos and sitting around ministers, the next time they come here it better be with keys to houses for the police station we the people of Makhaza have been crying for for over five years.”

Weekend Argus