Shocking neglect in Kwathema informal settlements

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

There is shocking neglect in KwaThema informal settlements near Springs on the East Rand, with water, electricity and decent toilets in short supply.

This is my main observation after my visit there yesterday (26 November) as part of the DA’s “Don’t forget the forgotten” campaign in which I visit neglected areas, stay the night, and try to assist where I can. I was accompanied on this 27th visit by local DA Councillors Dean Stone and Mandla Motha.

At the Ekuthuleni informal settlement next to the KwaThema hostel there are only 6 taps for about 3000 shacks. This is utterly shocking, in massive breach of the council standard of at least one tap for every ten shacks. How difficult is it to put in extra taps?

The council provides very few toilets, so residents use crude pit toilets that they construct themselves.

There is no electricity, so residents either go without or use illegal connections. There are illegal wires everywhere, which is very dangerous. Residents told me that a baby and a pregnant woman had been electrocuted by exposed wires in the last three years.

I also visited the Marikana informal settlement in KwaThema which was established in 2011. It is reasonably laid out, but toilets and water are also very inadequate.

At KwaThema Extension 3 the shacks have council-provided toilets and electricity. But DA member Elisabeth Masina is denied electricity as well as three other DA supporting families because they are not ANC. This is outrageous discrimination which we are opposing vigorously.

Staff and equipment shortages are experienced at the nearby Thembalisha and KwaThema clinics, which are both over-crowded and need to be extended.

Thembalisha clinic is in a building that used to be a beer hall. Staff said they needed more space to ensure patient privacy, and they had only one blood pressure monitor when six were needed.

I was disturbed to find that the KwaThema clinic has been short of condoms for a week and has only three stethoscopes instead of twenty.

I stayed the night with Elizabeth Tyatyaza and her family in Ekuthuleni. They need to make at least three trips a day with a wheel barrow to fetch water.

I hope to assist them and other forgotten people in KwaThema to improve their lives.