Ward 10 residents intensify electricity fight

Thembani Onceya

The campaign for the Makana Municipality to install electricity in Phaphamani and Zolani informal settlements gained momentum last week when 60 Ward 10 residents braved the bad weather and again picketed outside the City Hall on Friday afternoon. 

There is no electricity or street lights in the two areas and the residents argue that this contributes to the high crime rate in the areas. The residents had a week earlier picketed outside the City Hall following what they called mayor Vumile Lwana's "snubbing" of their scheduled meeting with him.  

"It's been 17 years since we have been living in this area and there's nothing happening, we are living in unhealthy conditions because of the stench that comes from the pit toilet system," explained resident Sukuzile Maki . "Last week, we were told to come today for a response to our constant problems."

Maki added that ever since they voted in 1994 there is nothing they can point to to show that "our government have done for us”.

Speaking on behalf of the municipality, Ward 10 councillor Xolani Simakuhle told the picketers that Lwana was attending a provincial Executive Council outreach with Premier Noxolo Kiviet. "We have agreed with the mayor on the phone that on Wednesday  next week a meeting will be held in the councillor's office at 10 o'clock  where we will respond to the residents' problems.

Another resident Johny Helesi alleged that last year they were told their areas would also get electricity after the municipality has finished installing it in Xolani squatter camp, but that this did not happen. "Our main problem is electricity because we don't have money to buy paraffin everyday, and most of us are unemployed, he added.

"The time for change has come and we have to pull our socks up, today we are living without toilets, no electricity and we live in shacks; starting today we demand service delivery from our government," said the Unemployed People's Movement (UPM) leader Ayanda Kota.


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DISGRUNTLED... Some of ward 10 residents who picketed outside the City Hall on Friday afternoon.
DISGRUNTLED... Some of ward 10 residents who picketed outside the City Hall on Friday afternoon.

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