Slovo residents sick of squalor

In Joe Slovo, children are playing near polluted water in their streets. This is one such example in Hobe Road.

Joe Slovo residents say they are tired of living in squalor and want better living conditions. With elections just two weeks away, community leaders and ordinary residents say they feel their votes are wasted on a government that they say ignores their calls for a better life.

Sewers and stormwater drains overflow frequently in the neighbourhood, and roadsides are strewn with litter.

Residents say they are falling ill because of the squalid conditions.

Community leader Mzimkhulu Sopeni said it was unacceptable that just five-minutes’ drive from Joe Slovo people lived in clean conditions.

“If you look at how clean Milnerton, Royal Ascot and Montague Gardens are, it’s quite a shame to think all these areas are in close proximity to Joe Slovo.

“We need a government that can look at the needs of the people and make a permanent change instead of just looking at quick fixes to these problems.”

Resident Julia Masi recalled former mayor Patricia de Lille’s visit to Joe Slovo last year (“Mayor takes pop-up office to Joe Slovo and Phoenix,” Tabletalk, October 17, 2018).

“We walked with her through the streets and showed her burst drains. She made a call, and it got fixed, but the issues are back again.

“Things are terrible here. I wonder if these politicians would live in a place like this. If not, then how can they be okay with us living like this?”

Lusindiso Maswazi said it didn’t make sense to carry on voting for politicians who forgot about people after they had won their votes.

“Should we have to beg and protest for our voices to be heard? If we do that, we will be labelled as bad people. Look at what is happening in Alexandra township in Gauteng. Do we have to resort to that? Since the beginning of the year, our streets are filled with litter, and there’s no sign of the City coming to get rid of this,” she said.

Ms Maswazi suggested the City hire Joe Slovo residents to clean the area as they knew the place better than anyone and it provides local employment.

Ward 4 councillor Wandisile Ngeyi said he had identified areas needing urgent attention during a walkabout last month with the Joe Slovo Development Forum and some City officials.

“Although we know that there are a lot of other issues in Joe Slovo, we feel that getting electricity to those that currently live in the dark is the most important of the lot.

“Winter is soon approaching, and we can’t have people sitting in the dark and unable to make food during this time of year. We are currently looking at ways to solve that issue,” he said.

Mr Ngeyi said if residents took to the streets it would stall progress in the area.

“We know that people like to politicise things, but I believe that we shouldn’t mix matters. This is about getting people the better living conditions they need and we shouldn’t get sucked into what party isn’t doing what. Let’s put the people first.”

He said he had raised the issues about pollution and poor drainage in the area with the mayor, and had submitted a proposal to sub-council to find land for a new housing development for Joe Slovo residents.

Tabletalk emailed questions to the City last week Wednesday, but it did not respond by the time this edition went to print.