More than 50% of the service delivery challenges identified during the Bua Le Sechaba campaign in some of the 48 sections of the Ivory Park informal settlement in the City of Johannesburg’s Region A last year have been addressed, according to Regional Director Abigail Ndlovu.
Speaking during a follow-up Bua Le Sechaba (Talk to the Nation) tour of the informal settlement by the City’s top political leadership this week, Ndlovu said, however, that the continuous blockages of sewer drains and illegal electricity connections were still a big drain on the region’s budget. This, she said, limited the region’s ability to spend money on improving living conditions in the informal settlement, said Ndlovu.
“Illegal electricity connections are cleared regularly but residents illegally reconnect power soon afterwards,” she said.
Ndlovu said the region would soon submit a proposal to the mayoral committee on the possible establishment of a partnership involving all the City’s utilities to deal with the two challenges.
“The purpose of this proposed partnership is to work together with the residents and to involve them in looking after the infrastructure,” said Ndlovu.
“The social behaviour of the residents towards infrastructure needs to change, especially relating to dumping things into drains that cause blockages.”
Some of the problems that Ndlovu said had been resolved included:
- The provision of social assistance to people with disabilities by enrolling them under the Food Security Programme and handing them wheelchairs;
- The upgrading of gravel roads in Goniwe section;
- The clearing of illegal dump sites; and
- The clearing of blocked water channels.
These interventions took place between September and December last year.
Ndlovu said, however, that the City was still faced with major problems as some of the residents continued to throw objects such as sheeps’ heads into the storm water drains. She said the provision of electricity to some of the sections was still a major challenge.
Ndlovu pointed out that the region was considering relocating MaMtolo section, which could not be electrified as it was situated under power utility Eskom's servitude. She said another challenge facing the region was high congestion in many of the sections, which put tremendous pressure on the existing infrastructure. This impeded emergency services from entering the areas and made it difficult for contractors to gain access.
It also minimised the possibility of providing the areas with community facilities such as clinics, schools and libraries. The Joburg Property Company, according to Ndlovu, recently acquired land with the aim of relocating some sections of the settlement, especially those situated on the floodline.
Ndlovu added that the region, working with the Gauteng Provincial Government, might have to take decisions that might not necessarily prove popular with some of the residents to effectively address the many challenges besetting the informal settlement.
The decisions include relocating residents to new areas and ensuring that the sections from which they are removed are not occupied again.