15 June 2016 | Vanessa Mamaṱho and Zikhona Ndiki, Images: Vanessa Mamaṱho
Johannes Sekola,has been a resident of the Iscor informal settlement in Pretoria Wes for close to 37 years.
He has with no water, electricity or toilets.The government has not yet built them RDP houses.
Unemployed, Johannes stays alone with no wife or kids.
“It has been 7 years that the government has been promising us facilities such as electricity and sanitation. The Iscor squatter camp has not been assisted by anyone since 1979, mothers and fathers walking up and down searching for jobs in order to provide for their families.”
He added, “The government is the devil itself. We have to vote by force.It is up to us to change this. The main issue is that we suffer from is the lack of housing, electricity and toilets. The municipality of Tshwane promised us many things. Their last visit was 3 years back but nothing was delivered. We informed that our councillor was not that of the African National Congress (ANC) but that of the Democratic Alliance (DA). The residents of the squatter camp do not know the name of their councillor.”
Tumelo Sekalo (21), was born and raised at the camp and studied at the Tshwane South College. “We want to have our own space so we can be able to open our own shops.” He is a determined young man who is ready to make a difference in his community.
Some people at the informal settlement are not employed but do get part-time jobs every now and again. They mostly survive from the little they make from their temporary work.
Another challenge faced by the community is the hazardous road. Kids walk across the main road traveling to school and risk being involved in an accident.
The community has also been growing as a result of foreigners moving into the area. GladisMakwea, another community said, “We had four shacks before and this has expanded to a large, bigger group because of foreigners who have no IDs. The ANC is not helping us. We only vote for it because our parents we members of the party.”
Making a living to survive can be a daunting task. Matthews Ramusipala said, “I collect boxes for a living; I only earns R30 per day depending on the scale. I collect boxes from Atteridgeville to Pretoria West’s industrial side. This is how I get to pay my bills every month end.”
Another resident who did recycling told Salaamedia: “The highest amount I was paid was R120 which happens once in a life time. I have never earned over R200 per day.”
They even alleged that once they were picked up and bused to an ANC event to promote the party. They had to find their own way home.
Informal settlements are mushrooming and blooming around South Africa, most of them with high rates of unemployed people,kids suffering from high risk of unhygienic surroundings, and little or no sanitation.