No hope for Thembelihle dwellers
THEMBELIHLE means good hope. But residents of Thembelihle informal settlement in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, have no hope.
Marred by violent service delivery protests every other month, some of the residents in this settlement are defiant and do not want to be relocated to safer ground.
Their shacks are built on dolomitic land and could be swallowed by the ground at any time.
Gauteng MEC for local government and housing Humphrey Mmemezi has made calls to the residents to relocate, but they do not want to hear any of it.
Just across the street from the settlement, there is construction of businesses.
"If this area is dolomitic, why are people building on this land?" asks 57-year-old Samuel Mabaso.
"I do not think the government is telling us the truth. They want us to move to make space for other people to come and build houses or something," he said.
Mabaso stays with his wife Hilda, 42. They have four children aged between two and 14, who all live in Limpopo with their grandparents.
Not only are residents in this area connecting electricity illegally, but they also draw water illegally.
"We have been living here for many years. We have no water, no toilets and no electricity.
"Many of us bought pipes so that we could draw water into our yards. It's healthy and clean," Mabaso said. "We are desperate for these services."
His spaza shop in the settlement only has soap and a few tins of canned food.
"I cannot afford to pay rent. It's expensive. My wife does not work. The spaza shop is just for survival," Mabaso said.