It was a day of walkabouts, site visits and a community meeting as the Mayoral delegation visited Diepsloot for an Imbizo on Tuesday 18 February.
More than 1200 community members, business people and community leaders from Diepsloot filled the Methodist Church Hall to capacity to engage with Executive Mayor, Mpho Parks Tau and members of the mayoral committee. Diepsloot is a township in the north of Johannesburg, located in Region A of the City.
The rapidly growing township came into existence in 1994 after part of the farm Diepsloot was expropriated by settlers from Zevenfontein and the flood area from Alexandra.
Figures from Stats SA show that the population of Diepsloot has increased fourfold from 50 000 in 2001 to 200 000 in 2011.
The people of Diepsloot were elated to hear that plans to have a Rea Vaya bus route connecting the township to Randburg are at an advanced stage.
Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau announced that in two weeks, the City will be launching a Rea Vaya bus route from Louis Botha to Ivory Park. He promised that this year, the city will take the concept of Corridors of freedom to Diepsloot. “We can’t continue re-entrenching apartheid; we should build a city of the future. All communities should be able to access transport to the city or even stay in the City or the area of work”.
Development means anything and everything to every one of us; it is about you and how you live. Diepsloot of 1994 is not the same as of 2014.”
Chairperson of the Diepsloot Business Forum; Mzolisi Mbikwana was raving about what the City and government broadly have done for the township. “Diepsloot now has a regional Police station. As you enter Ext 2, the fire station is right next to the police station and the taxi rank. Diepsloot also has a Centre for elderly people and two clinics. Since the dawn of democracy 20 years ago, we have been provided with new public schools and two private schools. One of these schools, Diepsloot Combined School last year achieved 98% in matric results.”
Mbikwana thanked the City for spending R30 million to build a Multi-Purpose Centre which also has a library. Diepsloot now boasts two public parks which have a green gym to encourage the residents to live a healthy lifestyle.
He pointed out that roads in the area have been upgraded to tar, including the main road called Ingonyama Road. There are also two bridges under constructions leading to the Diepsloot East project where more houses will be built. He called on Diepsloot residents to work with the City to develop the area. “It is about what we can do together to develop Diepsloot, not what the City can do for Diepsloot”.
The mayor encouraged people to take part in the development of their community and outlined some of the social problems that prevent development. Poverty and food security, in the Multiple Deprivation Index (MDI) the City tries to find the root course of poverty and prioritise communities that are vulnerable according to the findings of MDI. He encouraged people to eat healthy and make the most of the green gyms in the parks, promoting healthy life style leaving.”
On the subject of HIV & AIDs, the Executive Mayor said the City is now giving single dose of ARVs in its clinics