Council tries to placate angry informal settlement residents with promises

Dan Fuphe

Dan Fuphe

Many residents of the sprawling Barcelona informal settlement near Daveyton in Benoni might now be feeling more positive about their future.

Residents, who over the past month have resorted to violent protests to register their anger at poor service delivery by the Ekurhuleni municipality, were assured at the weekend that their problems would be dealt with by the end of May.

Speaking at a highly volatile public meeting on Sunday, councillor Kaifas Sambo, who is responsible for housing, told the restive crowd that the streamlining of the provision of electricity and waterborne sanitation would only be deal with when executive mayor Duma Nkosi presented his budget to the municipal council in May.

Sambo said residents of extensions 25, 26 and 27 were those most affected by poor service delivery.

Many of these residents told Sowetan they had lived in the areas since 1996, but had never enjoyed the luxury of using water to flush their toilets.

Sambo said he was aware people needed proper facilities to lead a decent life, but that proper planning was crucial for this to be achieved.

"I agree you deserve to have electricity in your homes. But this facility can only be allocated to those people who are owners of properly registered stands," Sambo said.

He said preference would be given to homeowners who possessed "a council slip to show they had paid rent".

Sambo said Barcelona had already been proclaimed and was on the verge of being developed.

Responding to a question about tenders being won by members of a particular political organisation, Sambo replied that, if this was the case, it was wrong.

Protest leader Kenneth Maduna said residents wanted their problems dealt with without further delays.

"People are hopping mad because most of their pertinent questions were not satisfactorily addressed by Sambo or his entourage," he said.