IY residents take to streets for better services

Several hundred protesters sang and danced in anticipation of the memorandum hand-over.

The City of Cape Town will meet with members of the Imizamo Yethu Informal Settlements Block Committee Council (IYISBCC) on Tuesday April 10 to address concerns raised during this week’s protest outside the Hout Bay police station.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas received a memorandum from the residents of Dontse Yakhe, Shooting Range and Ebhayi during Monday’s protest. The residents are calling for urgent basic services and electricity to be prioritised in these areas.

Pamela Sofika, of the ISBCC, said the invitation from the City to meet next month was a “positive”, but the council would not be relenting in its mission to achieve an improved quality of life.

“We’ve already had the City here checking on electricity boxes, which is a good sign,” she said.

“There are still issues around the beneficiaries of electricity boxes, people who had boxes before the March fire last year. There have been errors in the registration process, with some people not on the City’s database. So we will be talking about this. We will be pressing on because people need to be electrified.”

In the memorandum, the residents say they have been “sidelined, ignored and ill-treated” by the City as it rolls out services to others in Imizamo Yethu.

“The residents have been prevented from rebuilding their lives as the City of Cape Town has interdicted us from any rebuilding.

“This has now gone on for over a year. It has been a year in which we have seen our houses demolished, been scared to restore our homes and go to bed every night not knowing if tomorrow our homes will be demolished.

“We now find ourselves in fear of the approaching winter and the realisation that we are worse off than we were more than a year ago before the fire ravaged our community…The lack of proper sanitation in Imizamo Yethu, Dontse Yakhe, Shooting Range and Ebhayi subjects us to embarrassing conditions of having to go to the mountain and children going around the houses to relieve themselves.”

Many residents of this block are refusing to move into 3mx3m shacks offered in the temporary relocation areas established in the wake of last year’s fire. Instead, they have rebuilt their shacks in the area razed by fire, but are facing eviction by the City as it forges ahead with its plans to redevelop the area.

Among the residents’ demands are:

* A fortnightly engagement with IYISBCC to discuss a way forward for the grievances of the people living in the informal settlement that will be minuted and the minutes made publicly available to anyone who is interested.

* A detailed plan be proposed and agreed by the end of April for the reinstatement of electricity for all residents of the three blocks.

The plan is to consider all that need electricity and not merely a select few.

* The people of Imizamo Yethu Dontse Yakhe, Shooting Range and Ebhayi be allowed to rebuild their lives without fear of demolition and court interdicts.

* Adequate sanitation be provided immediately, the upgrading of the informal settlement to be done in a constructive, transparent and collaborative manner and engagement should occur with those that actually live and reside in the informal settlement, outside of courts and without lawyers.