Jack Bloom MPL
DA Leader, Gauteng Legislature
Growth prospects around the Lanseria Airport in north west Johannesburg must be pushed to assist the upliftment of the many informal settlements in the area.
This is my conclusion after visiting there yesterday as part of the DA’s “Don’t forget the forgotten” campaign in which I visit neglected communities once a month and stay the night to experience what life is like for them.
I was accompanied by local DA Constituency MP Dr Dion George and DA activists.
The Malatjie shack settlement is down the road from the airport. There are 900 stands which house about 4000 people.
It’s a peaceful community that has been there for 21 years. It has 21 water tanks that are serviced twice a day, but water often runs out over the weekend. They make do with pit toilets that they dig themselves.
The problem is that they are on private land. The Johannesburg Council needs to purchase this land as soon as possible so that it can formalize this settlement.
Residents should be given title deeds, which will boost their economic prospects as they can then get small loans.
I also visited Kya Sands sections b and c, Msawawa and Thabo Mbeki informal settlements which all suffer similar problems arising from impermanence and inadequate facilities. I saw improvements made because previous DA ward councilor John Mendelsohn reported the city to the SA Human Rights Commission, which resulted in the installation of VIP toilets, communal water taps and mast lighting.
The Johannesburg Council needs to deliver on its promises to provide the bulk infrastructure for development in the area, but this is seriously lagging behind e.g. a crucial water reservoir is only scheduled to be completed in 2016.
As always, I was impressed by the energy and creativity that people have put into building their own homes out of various building materials.
People haven’t waited for council promises of RDP houses, but are making the best out of what they have.
The area around Lanseria airport could generate lots of local jobs if infrastructure development was accelerated as part of a genuine Aerotropolis development.
Local jobs would really help the lives of people who live in the burgeoning informal settlements.
I spend the night at Malatjie at the home of Mr David Mogatla and his family. It was a cold night, but the people were warm and friendly.
I hope to assist in the improvement of their lives in a meaningful way.