Maseko was one of dozens of Bramfischerville residents – mostly women – who visited a marquee at the centre, where officials of the City’s Health Department were conducting free health tests and giving advice on how to prevent chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and cancer. The free health checks formed part of Monday’s Integrated Community Outreach Programme (ICOP), a platform used by City officials and politicians to engage residents on various service delivery issues.
ICOP also provides an opportunity for City officials to give feedback to residents on issues raised on previous occasions. Many women were seen queueing outside the marquee, waiting for their turn to be tested.
The City’s Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme, initiated by Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau about three years ago, encourages residents to eat healthy and engage in physical activity to keep these diseases at bay. While some city officials visited various areas to meet residents and inspect problematic service delivery sites, other officials remained in the hall to address the community.
Many of the problems were about the lack of title deeds, illegal sale of houses, residents who have been on the housing waiting list for many years as well as blocked sewers and water cuts. One woman complained that she had been on the housing waiting list since 1998.
“Officials came to our area and took down our details, telling us we would be put on the housing waiting list. Four years later they came again and did the same. Another four years passed before they returned to do the same. But I’m still waiting,” she said.
Solomon Kgophane of Region C’s Housing Department said the administration of housing in the city vested with the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.
“Although the City is at the coalface of service delivery at local level, the administration of housing, such as the issuing of title deeds and the sale and transfer of properties, is the responsibility of the provincial housing department,” Kgophane said.
Residents also complained about blocked sewers and stagnant water in their yards and on the streets. Some residents were forced to unblock the sewers in their yards and create channels to get rid of the stagnant water.
“This usually creates problems because the owner usually does not care where the effluent and stagnant water flow out to, as long as it is out of his or her yard,” said one woman.
A Joburg Water official said there were only three waste items needed to be disposed of down the drains: human waste, water and toilet paper.
“Newspapers and other objects thrown down the drains are the cause of sewer blockages in Bramfischerville. Unimaginable objects such as sheep’s heads have been removed from the sewer drains,” she said.
She added that residents needed to call Joburg Water to unblock sewer drains, even if these were in someone’s yard.