Steven Tau
2 minute read
11 Nov 2013
6:00 am

Losing hope in Bekkersdal

Steven Tau

The living conditions in Bekkersdal's informal settlements have become unbearable for many.

FILE PICTURE: Protesters carry a gate. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The Citizen took a drive to the area, which was recently engulfed by violent protests, where some residents were willing to tell their stories of frustration with bureaucracy, the need for electricity and the patience needed to keep hoping to one day own an RDP house.

Jacob Radebe, who has been living in the area since 1983, has already lost hope of owning his own house.

“We are in need of electricity, water and proper sanitation and, as you can see, we are still using the bucket system.

“Government has told us that the reason why they can’t build us houses here is because this area here is dolomitic, but what is shocking is that not far from us there have been housing developments taking place,” the father of three children said.

He also called for the investigation of allegations of maladministration and nepotism levelled against Westonaria local municipality mayor Nonkolise Tundzi to be speeded up.

“The mayor has been hiring mostly Xhosa-speaking people just because she is from the Eastern Cape, overlooking our own people who grew up here,” he said.

Another resident, Vuliwe Zawena, a mother of eight, said she has applied twice for an RDP house. “Nothing has changed ever since I move into this area in 1989. All we have been getting is empty promises from our government.”

Khali Linditjala, a mother of two, appealed to government to urgently intervene to improve living conditions.

“Life here has never been easy. Our children are struggling when it comes to preparing for school exams because we rely on candles for light at night, and the paraffin smoke is just not healthy for children,” she added.

Some streets are still full of sewerage and children could be seen playing in a park surrounded by rubbish.

In response, Victor Moreriane, spokesman for the Gauteng local government and housing department, said those living in high-risk areas would be relocated to a new township.