Residents have nowhere else to go
FOR many years Lindelwa Bavu has had to relieve herself next to the railway lines.
Bavu, 51, is a resident of Emalahleni informal settlement in Klipspruit.
"We have nowhere else to go. Some residents have tried to build toilets but they don't flush, and they are not cleaned. That poses a health hazard," she said.
Bavu shares her two-roomed shack with five other people. A curtain is used to divide the tiny shack.
Her daughter Thembi and her husband sleep on the other side of the curtain. Her two granddaughters sleep on the floor.
Another resident, Nompie Masege, said going back to her parents' house in the township was not an option.
"My brothers live with their wives and children in the house. There are fights every day .... "
She said she moved to Emalahleni "many years ago" to live with her boyfriend from KwaZulu-Natal.
Maneo Pate, 56, from Lesotho, shares a two-roomed shack with her three children aged between eight and 18.
She arrived in South Africa in 2008 hoping for a better life. She said when she arrived in the area, there were already people there.
"This was an open space," she said, pointing to her shack. "I fenced off the place and built the shack. We are struggling here ... I'm not happy, but I have nowhere else to go."
THE Gauteng department of local government and housing had no idea that the Emalahleni informal settlement even existed.
MEC Humphrey Mmemezi said he only found out about the settlement near Nancefield station in Soweto after Sowetan asked the department about plans to eradicate the settlement.
However, residents claim people have been living in this area since 1976.
"Emalahleni is a new informal settlement which is not part of the registered and recorded informal settlements within Johannesburg. The plan is to register the settlement in order to link it to other projects or plans of the City of Johannesburg," he said.
Mmemezi also said they had requested a report from the City. This means the families living there will have to wait even longer to be allocated houses, water supply and electricity.
He, however, warned the residents of this settlement.
"The area is dangerous. They (residents) will be knocked down by trains.
"People must not use danger to seek sympathy. The government will establish laws that will force us to arrest them ...
"They are setting a bad example to their children."