Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was raised in a cherry-picker to turn on power to Madiba Square, Imizamo Yethu, this week.
Madiba Square is the first area to be “superblocked” to install services and roads since the March fire which left more than 10 000 people destitute.
According to the mayor, the project took three months to complete, of which 15 days were lost due to housing protests and residents failing to agree on having their shacks demolished.
It was hoped the electrification of Madiba Square on Tuesday August 15 would encourage those opposed to superblocking to allow the City to move forward in other areas of Imizamo Yethu.
However, there were few signs that those opposed to the process will yield easily. Earlier on Tuesday, a group of some 2000 residents took minibus taxis to the CBD where a memorandum of demands were handed over at the Civic Centre. This include allegations that the City is withholding services and that they be addressed by “experts” on housing.
Shortly after Ms De Lille had switched on the electricity in Imizamo Yethu, her security team received word that the marchers were on the way back from the CBD, and she was quickly whisked away in her cavalcade.
Within five minutes of her departure, the protesters, brandishing banners reading “No to superblocking” and singing songs, ascended on NR Mandela road. The march was peaceful and well marshalled.
In Madiba Square, a total budget of R6.75 million has been spent for the electrification of 181 shacks, of which 14% are new connections and the remainder of the households are a reinstatement of connections for customers electrified before the fire. Once the entire area has been electrified, the project will result in the electrification of more than 2 100
households, of which more than
80% will be new conections at a
cost of R40 million, the mayor
In terms of the electrification programme, the City is working to achieve the following key milestones:
* Electrification of Madiba Square has been completed in August 2017
* Electrification of Pipe Track below Road 5 will start in the next two weeks for completion within the next three months
* Electrification of Shooting Range will start as soon as enough progress has been made by the civil contractor doing roadworks and walkways
* Dontse Yakhe will start when there is sufficient progress with the construction of Road 1 and the walkways
“The City is currently busy with a broad range of works in Imizamo Yethu as part of the super-block-
ing project to deliver services such as water, sanitation, electricity, wider pathways and roads in the fire-affected area,” Ms De Lille said. “The super-blocking project will enhance service delivery in the area and lead to greater ac-
cess in order to help prevent a recurrence of the devastating fire which occurred in March this
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said there had been many hurdles in terms of superblocking, including the difficult terrain and logistics. “Today (Tuesday) marks one of the most important milestones in the superblocking process. Seeing the improvement of the lives of people will hopefully be an incentive to those residents in Dontse Yakhe opposed to the process to allow us to continue our work. Today is a good day,” he
Mkhululi Ndude, leader of the Imizamo Yethu Movement, agreed that it was a “good day”.
“We will be glad to see our people under the lights. The superblocking must continue. We must get what we ask for and what we deserve.”