13 March 2019

South Africa: Mayor Bobani Promises Electrificity to Two Informal Settlements in PE

About 200 residents from Asinavalo informal settlement in Ikamvelihle, Port Elizabeth, blocked Addo Road with burning tyres on Wednesday morning. This followed a rumour that a neighbouring informal settlement was to get electrification ahead of them.

They said ward 53 Councillor Nomazulu Mthi (ANC) had told their representatives that there was only money to provide electricity for Nomakhanjani informal settlement, located at the end of Ikamvelihle along the Addo Road.

Mthi, however, denied ever saying this.

The protesters demanded to be addressed by Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Mongameli Bobani (UDM).

Nondumiso Yawa, one of the protest leaders, said, "We are one ward and we use one budget ... We want to get an explanation from the mayor today ... He said by March we would be having electricity and water."

Yawa said the funds should be frozen until the municipality had enough money to bring services to all shacks in ward 53.

"Some people are paying for electricity from main [formal] houses while others are making illegal connections, which is very dangerous."

The municipality erected only one water tap despite that there are 600 to 800 shacks in Asinavalo," said Yawa.

Protester Amanda Mpakho said, "I registered for a house in 2005 and have heard nothing from the municipality. They cannot even trace my name. I have been sent from pillar to post in my quest to trace my application."

"The other problem," she said, "is that information about the wards' budgets rarely reaches the residents because of the manner in which the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) meetings are convened. People who call these meetings are always rushing because they have to cover the entire Motherwell, instead of doing it ward by ward."

Bobani addressed the protesting residents. "I have come to tell you that this is one ward. Services should be supplied to all two settlements at the same time. Starting from today, land will be cleared for electricity and water provision in all the two settlements. I will be having a meeting with all councillors for Motherwell tomorrow to ensure other services are provided."

Protester Thandani Bhawana replied: "We are fed up with all these fake promises ... We will not give you our votes if you lie to us."

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