Grassroot ambassador Zwelibanzi Vanyazahepls SPCDF get the most out of the platform

Zweli, as he is commonly known is hails from Slovo Park informal settlement next to Eldorado Park in Soweto. The community there is faced with various challenges from housing to electricity to service delivery. However, not all the residents have given in to their circumstances and that has led to the formation of the Slovo Park Community Development Forum (SPCDF). 

SPCDF meets on a weekly basis, discusses and takes action on all avenues and opportunities that seek to improve the quality of life for the residents of Slovo Park.

"First of all, no one can say that they were not aware of any meeting anymore", says Zweli, reflecting on how Grassroot has improved communication amongst the members and community in general. "We use the the platform to organize soccer tournaments as an extra mural activity for the children in the community and it was instrumental in mobilizing people to attend computer classes at the Eldorado Park job center. 

Mondli Msani reflects on Grassroot Ambassadorship

Mondli is a Grassroot Ambassador and part of the Thembelihle Crisis Committee's (TCC) executive committee. TCC is a community based non-profit organisation that focuses on socio-economic issues such as access to water, electricity and housing.

"Being an ambassador and doing outreach has done a great deal for me", says Mondli. "Going out to other communities during outreach made me realize how similar our struggles are. I have also been able to observe how they tackle the same issues that we go through and borrow some ideas for our own solutions".

He also went on to elaborate on how the Grassroot platform has been used internally within his organisation.

  • It is being used as the primary platform for organizing meetings with crisis committees in neighboring areas such as Precast, Lawley and Soweto.
  • Assisted with campaigning during the Ward Commitee elections
  • The organisation's Grassroot Extra account also helped disseminate findings that came out of social audits that were recently conducted partnership with Plan Act
Mondli outside his shack in Thembelihle

Mondli outside his shack in Thembelihle

#LiveWire Occupy Enkomponi is met with violent reaction

Leadership giving feedback regarding their talks with law enforcement and legal experts.

Leadership giving feedback regarding their talks with law enforcement and legal experts.

17 meetings have been called on the Grassroot platform since the 12th March this year when the Freedom Park Back Dwellers Association along with SOPA, the Socialist Party of Azania first arranged to meet regarding the occupation of a piece known to Freedom Park residents as Enkomponi, next to the Golden Highway on the outskirts of Soweto.

Masses gathared at Enkomponi

Masses gathared at Enkomponi

On the 20th of March 2017, the Freedom Park Back Dwellers marched to the ANC headquarters, the Chief Albert Luthuli House in the Johannesburg CBD and handed in a memorandum party representative Babylon Xakethwa. The memorandum was informing the party of their plans to occupy the stretch of land known to them as Enkomponi. Two weeks after the memorandrum was handed, the back dwellers proceeded with the occupation and started pitching tents and building shacks.

Newly erected structures at Emkomponi

Newly erected structures at Emkomponi

Police presence all of a sudden escalated on the 4th of April 2017. Leadership within the collective engaged in talks with members of the SAPS who insisted that they had orders remove the occupiers along with their shacks from the land even after they were told that it is illegal to remove them from that land without a court order. The police officers resorted to using teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the gathered back dwellers. Abahlali base Freedom Park/SOPA is the biggest Grassroot group in existance.

Delegated leadership engaging law enforcement.

Delegated leadership engaging law enforcement.

#LiveWire Public Meeting In Ext. 10

Over 6000 community members from extension 10 informal settlement in Tsakane, Ekurhuleniattended the public meeting recently, addressed by the MMC for human settlement, Lesiba Mpya.

The main purpose of this meeting was to give a report back on the issues of service delivery and housing among other things.

" Ever since we started using the Grassroot application communication has become very better and many people are coming to the meetings. Before, we used a whistle or a loud speaker and we had to hire someone's car which would cost R150", said one of the organizers, Lumka Makholwa (24)

" According to Mpya,  the departmenthascome up with temporary solution sincethey are still waiting for the budget.   " There will be an installation of solar energy for 6,400 households in the couple of weeks so that people can be able to light and other fundamentals " saidhe said.

Mpya also added that the department has given back to the elderly. " We have identified two elderly people from this area and weare going to move them to their new houses.  I can promise that there will be a lot of developments for this year"he said

Mlungisi Giba (74) " Im very happy and excited that I will be moving to the new house. I have been waiting since 1998", he said.

Selina Dlamini(88) " I feel very honoured that I have been chosen.  I will enjoy the benefits of a proper house with running water and windows ", she said.

Story by Esau Dlamini

#LiveWire Langaville residents demand electricity

Despite the scorching sun and the heat, Masses of community members of Langaville in Kwathema, Ekurhuleni marched to the Customer Care Centre offices during the early hours in the morning to delivery a memorandum pertaining electricity blocking within the area.

"I have been living without electricity for more than nine months now because this problem started in May last year. We use prepaid but when you go to buy units, they tell you that you have been blocked from the system. You can't even buy enough meat and other things since we don't have electricity", said One of the residents, Meshack Thabatha (67)

When the community consulted with Eskom, they were allegedly informed that Ekurhuleni Municipality has an overdue debt

." Why should we suffer just because the Municipality has failed to settle its debts. I have received letters saying that Iowe electricity but when you go to pay the money they don't even have receipts as a proofthat you have paid. All we that we want is for them to do the unblocking", said another community member,  Johannes Molefe (86)

Leader and organiser, Sibusiso Hadebe sincerely thankedpeople who showed positive response about the introduction of Grassroot. " This application is one of the convenient ways to call up our meetings, Weare going to show it to the others especially the elderly ", said Radebe.

The memorandum was received and signed by the CCC Manger, Lorraine Mokgatle. " We have received the memorandum and we promise to provide feedback within seven days", said Mokgatle.