#LiveWireSA Tshepisong in urgent need of a police station

Tshepisong, City of Joburg, Ward 128 is in a long standing battle with criminal activity in the community. The situation has intensified recently with spree of murders, suspected to be in relation is robbery. 8 people have been murdered in a single week, 6 of them suspected to be the action of the same person or group of people.

Together with the neighboring communities of Vlakfontein and Swaneville, Tshepisong relies on the services of Kagiso police station which is about 5.8 kilometers away with only one van dedicated to it. Community memebers allege that police never show up at times when called, they often cite safety as a reason for not showing up, especially in instances where they feel like they will be outnumbered.

An even bigger problem is that criminals from Tshepisong are usually released without charge. There is a prosecutor in the Kagiso magistrates court who is suspected to be taking bribes from arrested perpatrators. When community members follow up on cases at the police station, they are told that the cases have been dismissed in court and there is nothing that the police can do about that.

Community leaders are currently draffting a memorandum tabling a list of demands including a police station or at least a sattelite in the mean time and an audit on the activities of Kagiso magistrate's court.

#LiveWireSA Electricity crisis in Freedom Park

A broken transformer with a generator next to it.

A broken transformer with a generator next to it.

Residents of Freedom Park, south of Soweto are affected in different ways by the same thing, electricity supply in the Township. Some of the residents have had their electrical appliances damaged due to the fluctuating power levels in the outlets inside their homes. Power utility, City Power requests proof of purchase when such incidents occur. Most of the people usually do away with their receipts after their warranty period expires while the appliances still function properly and one elderly lady alleged that she did provide proof of purchase but was neither reimbursed or had her appliances replaced.

A diesel engine generator serving as a replacement to the broken transformer.

A diesel engine generator serving as a replacement to the broken transformer.

The second biggest issue is consistency, random homes in the neighborhood just go dark without prior warning. One way they can tell if electricity supply is about to be cut if the power supply in the home starts going faint, that is usually followed by a current of heavy voltage that damages appliances. There is a line that they can call to report power outages. After calling, one receives a reference number to quote for the technician when he or she arrives. As is the case with others, a resident received an SMS notifying him that the status on the job allocated to his reference number was updated "completed" but no one showed up and the family is still in the dark several days later. Community members suspect that the vans are chased away by people belonging to the former political regime within the ward to discredit the current one.  

An inactive power cord dangling close to the ground.

An inactive power cord dangling close to the ground.

Another long standing problem is that power supply is managed on an ad hoc basis. When it rains, especially with lightning and thunder, the whole township falls in to darkness. At first they thought that it was because was because of the weakness in the infrastructure but learned at a later stage that it gets switched off so that it does not do community wide damage. When transformers catch fire, they are usually replaced with diesel engine generators that are infamous for making noise on a 24 hour basis. The community members say that at some point, the generator literally in every street. After one particular politically led march, the generators were gone the very next day. the general assumption within the community is that someone was benefiting from having all these generators leased to the power utility. It is also alleged that there would be people showing up with their cars to fill the tanks up when the generators were being refueled. Some generators are still present in areas where transformers haven't been replaced yet.

#LiveWireSA Motsoaledi residents occupy RDP houses

The process of eradicating the Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement next to the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto has been underway for several years now. People get allocated RDP houses that have been constructed right next to the squatter camp Last year however, the allocation process came to a grinding halt construction on the remaining houses was incomplete, some haven't been electrified and don't have functioning sanitation.

Fearing that construction on these houses might never actually come to completion and that officials might start selling these houses through some corrupt actions, the residents of Motsoaledi decided to make use of the list of valid stand owners with C-forms to allocate the remaining houses among themselves. The police and JMPD responded to the situation but later had to retreat as negotiations with housing officials resulted in the decision that all except for 10 occupiers were the ones who were rightfully next in line.

#LiveWireSA Gauteng Civics Mass Rally banned by authorities: new date to be revealed soon

The Johannesburg Metro Police took the decision to ban the Gauteng Civics Mass Rally aimed at getting answers from Minister of human settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, Gauteng MEC for Housing, Paul Mashatile and City of Joburg mayor, Herman Mashaba which was originally planned for July 23rd at Eldorado Park Stadium as follow up to the meeting they had with representatives of 28 communities across South Gauteng.

The decision to ban it was made after members of Gauteng Civics were assaulted and intimidated in a meeting that happened in the early days of the same week the rally was supposed to be held. A Whatsapp message had also been circulating among the Eldorado Park community, threatening to petrol bomb the rally. 

The Gauteng Civics now consists of about 40 communities across Gauteng, including Grassroot's biggest community group, Abahlali base Freedom Park and was formed to consolidate the demand for housing and land into a united effort among the communities, following a series of protests that took place in May this year. A press conference was held on Saturday, 22 July to address matter and it was announced there that a new date will be revealed soon.

The Kliptown community get their voices amplified

A LiveWire article was posted on the Grassroot website on the 10th of May this year titled Kliptown protest action: One community, two different stories. The story was spotted by an investigative journalist from eNCA's Checkpoint who requested to speak to community leader, Sandile Mqhayi.

Mqhayi introduced the team to resident elder, Esther Bezana through whom the story of the Kliptown community's struggle for housing has been told. The episode aired on 11 July 2017 and is available for streaming in the links below. The response from some of Checkpoint's 22 900 Twitter followers has been overwhelming and the plight of the residents of Kliptown has been heard by millions of South Africans who were tuned in when the episode aired.

You can view segments of the episode here: