City breathing new life into informal settlements
City breathing new life into informal settlements

Major strides have been made to address many of the service delivery challenges identified during a Bua Le Sechaba (Talk to the Nation) visit to several informal settlements by Members of the City of Johannesburg’s Mayoral Committee in Region C last year.

This is according to feedback presented at a report-back meeting at the Roodepoort Civic Centre on Wednesday February 3.

The meeting was aimed at evaluating progress that had been made following the high-level visit to the various informal settlements in October 2015. However, a planned tour of the settlements was postponed pending the resolution of all outstanding challenges raised by the residents. In proposing the decision to postpone the tour, Councillor Sol Cowan, a member of the Bua Le Sechaba Chairperson’s Committee, said it was important that the City responds to all issues raised by communities and be seen to be resolving their service delivery concerns.

“It is pointless to visit the areas again when not all the issues that have been raised by residents have not been resolved,” Councillor Cowan said.

“The residents will naturally raise the same issues they complained about when we visited the areas in October last year. When we return to the areas we should be able to report that their problems have been sufficiently addressed and there should be evidence that this has happened.”

The meeting also resolved that the City’s entities and departments under whose jurisdiction the unresolved problems fell must meet soon to plan how to resolve the issues and outline time frames within which this would be achieved. Councillor Tjitjila Mashao, another member of the Bua Le Sechaba Chairperson’s Committee, concurred, saying there was a need to respond effectively to problems affecting residents.

During the October 2015 visit, illegal water and electricity connections, the lack of ablution facilities and illegal dumping were identified as some of the ongoing problems impacting on communities.

“Although efforts are regularly being made to clear illegal connections, a few hours later these are [illegally] reconnected,” said City official Welcome Nkosi.

Officials also reported that although illegal dump sites were being cleared on a weekly basis, illegal dumping had continued, with some residents allegedly being offered money to allow companies to dump waste in their areas. Despite these ongoing challenges, City officials reported that significant progress had been made in addressing these challenges. The following are some of the achievements:

  • City Power is providing electricity to 281 housing units being built by the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements at Princess Crossing;
  • The mushrooming of shacks at the Roodepoort Rugby informal settlement has been halted by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD);
  • Three communal taps have been provided for 180 families in the area; and
  • Six water tanks, which are filled daily, have been provided.

Work is also to begin this month to install new, proper communal taps.

Cllr Cowan said there needed to be more co-ordination among departments and entities to improve service delivery.

“Addressing problems affecting communities requires us to work together and set ourselves deadlines within which to resolve those challenges,” he said.