Kariega residents sick of living next to 300 vandalised toilets protest

“We have been patient for a long time” says protest leader

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Ester Speelman, 66, protesting on Rocklands Road in Kariega on Friday. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

About 100 people living in shacks next to 300 vandalised toilets in Gunguluza, Kariega, protested on Friday.

They said this was their first protest since being relocated here by the municipality in 2017. They are part of the Phase One Area 11 human settlement, and include people living with disabilities, former backyard and hostel dwellers, people relocated from flood plains, and from child-headed households.

They blew whistles and burnt tyres on the busy R334 Rocklands Road.

Resident Alime Genu said, “We have been patient for a long time, whilst residents from phases two, three and four are receiving services like flushing toilets, streetlights and electricity.”

“Every day we see trucks driving past our phase to do infrastructure in phase four, whilst we have been waiting for houses for seven years.”

She said they are told that there is no money, yet “we keep seeing budget being sent back to the treasury”.

Ester Speelman, 66, said, “I used to stay next to a toilet that did not flush for 24 years in the hostel. In 2017, they [the municipality] took me and my family and placed us next to toilets again here in Phase One.

“Sometime even a week goes by without water in our standpipes and we have to endure the stink. I am angry as we speak; enough is enough,” she said.

When Ward 45 Councillor Sabelo Mabuda (ANC) arrived, residents shouted, accusing him of lying, and demanded that someone senior to him to address them.

Mabuda said phase one was one of seven projects that he had fought for. “There is money for the 300 houses, but I don’t know what the delay is to build these houses.”

Tony Duba (ANC), from the Eastern Cape provincial legislature, arrived and said the residents must send a delegation of ten people to meet with human settlements officials in Gqeberha.

He told GroundUp, “The lack of engineers within the human settlement directorate of council is one of the impediments that slows down response to the community’s needs and it’s being attended to.”

TOPICS:  Housing Local government

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