Ebumnandi - Tshepisong West, a forgotten land.

Ebumnandini is an informal settlement situated in the west of Tshepisong, Ward 128, City of Johannesburg. The community was established 18 years ago and is made up primarily of shacks with a few brick houses here and there. The land has been divided into stands but residents are not allowed to erect any structures on as it has not been proclaimed yet and those that have, have been made aware that they are doing so at their own risk.

Despite the proclamation issue, the municipality has built toilets for each and every individual stand. The kind of toilets that have been built are in the form of pits which have to be drained on a regular basis. There is an entire section of the neighborhood whose toilets never get drained and it was recently established but members of the community whose toilets get drained that the people who carry out this service will not bother until a certain fee is handed to them.

Other issues that have been raised is that electricity supply is highly irregular therefore residents find themselves in the dark especially during the winter period during a time when everybody gets back from work and cooking has to be done.

Zimasa Khatshwa on rebuilding after her shack was burned down and Grassroot ambassadorship

We reported on the Grassroot Facebook page on March 26th this year that some good Samaritans have donated a shack to Zimasa Khatshwa after hers was burned down on the 31st of December 2016. Luckily, no one was injured but Khatshwa lost all her belongings in the fire and the shack that she had just moved into was empty so she had to start all over again.

The remains of Zimasa's previous shack

The remains of Zimasa's previous shack

Not a lot has changed for Zimasa, there is still a long way to go however we are proud to announce that she has been working as a Grassroot ambassador for a month now. "Being a Grassroot  ambassador is not difficult at all, it's the same as talking to people on a regular basis." she said, "The only thing that closely resembles a challenge is that sometimes, people take time to understand exactly how this platform works." When asked if there is one particular benefit of being an ambassador that stood out for her, she replied, "This has made very popular in the neighborhood". She represents Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement.

#LiveWire House allocation challenges in Motsoaledi

A process of relocating residents of the Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement, next to the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto to their new RDP houses started a while ago. About half the number of shacks that used to occupy this occupy this stretch of land land have now been eradicated. "That however is not reflective of the progress that has been made with regards to the allocation of houses here in Motsoaledi", utters leadership within the Inkanyezi community organization, based in that very community. "What happens when they move people to those houses is that they move all the people that lived in the yard where the C form holder used to live so one ends up with 10 families on one  stand".

To make sense of the statement, "10 families on one stand", one will have to understand how things are structured in this particular informal settlement. The first set off settlers demarcated themselves plots of land around which one would build their shack then fencing it therefore creating yards. By the time the second set of settlers arrived, all of the land was already occupied so they built their shacks in other people's demarcated "yards". Others charge rent for cohabitation and others don't and by default, a tenant, landlord situation has arisen.

The method used to label people within the dweller hierarchy in Motsoaledi is that the first set of settlers, the ones who were there when demarcations took place are known as dweller "A", the first person to settle in a yard that has already been occupied by someone else becomes dweller "B", the next one is "C" and so on. In the typical scenario, dweller "A" is the one that is likely to have a C-form. A C-form is a document that is issued out as proof that a person is registered on the RDP house waiting list.

How the houses are being allocated so far is that dweller "A" gets allocated their new home and the others within that yard follow suit. The property belongs to dweller "A", "B" and the rest relocate their shacks and the same situation as in the squatter camp get recreated.

Inkanyezi is asking for a process that will assist the "B", "C" and other dwellers to obtain their own C-forms so they get to be on the list and await allocation for their own homes. As it stands, the Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement is without electricity or sanitation, people with generators and solar panels charge a fee for people who want to get their phones charged and there are about 10 mobile toilets across the community that were deployed after Inkanyezi engaged with government several times.

 

Minister of Human Settlements meets with community representatives after a week of protests

Freedom Park backdwellers adding their names to one of the housing lists.

Freedom Park backdwellers adding their names to one of the housing lists.

Minister of Human Settlements along with MEC for Human Settlements and Co-operative governance and CoJ Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba met with representatives from communities in Soweto that had lately resorted to protest to get grievances attended to. 8 meeting requests have been sent by the various community groups on the Grassroot platform last week alone.

Mashatile said that people will be allowed to be allocated in areas where big projects are taking place across the city, he also reiterated the importance of inspecting and verifying the housing lists so there is not queue jumping.

Sisulu promised to liaise with the relevant minister regarding the release of the "children" that were wrongfully arrested during the protests.

A steering committee was formed on the day that will overlook all activity regarding what the representatives of the 3 spheres of government have promised the people. 

Kliptown protest action: One community, two different stories

Kliptown community members patiently waiting for MMC of housing, Mzobanzi Ntuli.

Kliptown community members patiently waiting for MMC of housing, Mzobanzi Ntuli.

Residents of the Kliptown informal settlement took to the streets in protest on Tuesday, May the 2nd. They had a list of grievances they wanted government to attend to, the main one being housing. City of Joburg MMC for housing, Mzobanzi Ntuli came to address community and take down the list of demands that the community had for government. Among those were a feedback on the turnkey project that previous MMC, Dan Bovu had promised to them and an audit of the Klipspruit Zone 9 flats where some of the Kliptown shack dwellers have been allocated housing. He stated that all that he was presented with was new to him and he needed a week to investigate, therefore resolved to meet 7 days later on Tuesday, May the 9th.

The meeting was later moved outside the hall to accommodate the sheer number of attendants. 

The meeting was later moved outside the hall to accommodate the sheer number of attendants. 

A crowd of 500+ showed up at the Walter Sisulu square to be addressed by the MMC regarding his feedback on their demands and the way forward. The meeting was scheduled for 4pm. At about 4:45pm, almost an hour after the time meeting was supposed to start a faction of the crowd began to break away from where everyone else was congregated. The break away faction began singing struggle songs and marching in the direction of the Soweto Hotel and headed out to the street where they began looting shops and stock form nearby hawkers. Stones were thrown at stores that could not be broken into and storage facilities where hawkers keep their stock were left open and exposed. Their behavior seemed to be inspired by that of neighboring Eldorado Park which was in the middle of and unrelated service delivery protest which saw them barricade all roads coming into and out of the township. 

Members of the SAPS dispersing a group of rioters.

Members of the SAPS dispersing a group of rioters.

"We are not part and parcel of the Eldorado Park protest, we are aware of and in solidarity with Freedom Park and Slovo Park", said Sandile Mqhayi, a Kliptown community leader who was faced with the difficult task of dissuading those that stayed behind at Walter Sisulu square from leaving to go join the looters and rioters. The police fired rubber bullets into the crowd to disperse them. One person, Kliptown square hawker was shot with what appeared to be live ammunition and when onlookers gathered around him, the Soweto TRT team fired a grenade that released purple colored teargas to break up the congregation. 

Street hawker nursing a gunshot wound.

Street hawker nursing a gunshot wound.

Teargas used to disperse the crowd gathered around the wounded man.

Teargas used to disperse the crowd gathered around the wounded man.

MMC Mzobanzi Ntuli eventually showed up at 5:37pm without other officials that were supposed to be there with him. More than half of the people that waited for the MMC, not joining in on the riots had already left by the time he showed up and other officials did not bother to come, citing safety amidst protest action as the reason. Another meeting has been scheduled for the following day, this time only with community leaders.