LAND DISPUTES HINDER UPGRADING OF INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

Land disputes are a major factor preventing the upgrading of informal settlements in the Germiston and Katlehong areas on the East Rand.

I discovered this yesterday on my tour of deprived communities as part of the DA’s “Don’t forget the forgotten” campaign. It is my eighth such visit which I do one day every month to different places in Gauteng.

I was accompanied by DA Constituency Head Paul Willemburg MPL and DA councillors Tania Campbell, Fortune Mahana, Ernest Hlatshwayo and Silvester Bodibe.

It is really shocking that there are only 10 taps for 9000 people at the Makauwse informal settlement in Primrose. Uncollected rubbish lies in heaps and only pit toilets are available.

This used to be part of a mine, and part of the land is undermined and dangerous, which is why some people have already been removed.

But it is a long-standing settled community and could be upgraded if the land issue was settled with the owner.

At the Mandela informal settlement in Katlehong there is a also dispute over who owns the land.

There is a huge quarry that should be fenced as it is dangerous for children and bodies have been found in the water there.

There are only six taps for 6000 people even though there is a nearby water reservoir.

Wood fires are used as there is no electricity, which is really unhealthy.

I stayed the night at Mandela informal settlement in the shack of Mr Jeremiyah Kakazi, so I experienced a bit of the difficulties they face every day.

The Ekurhuleni Metro Council and the Gauteng Provincial Government need to negotiate with the owners of the land so that there is an acceptable deal for everyone as large-scale removals of settlement communities is not desirable or feasible.

There needs to be certainty so that upgrades can take place.

The DA will be assisting the residents of these communities to submit petitions in this matter so that their lives can be improved.

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