South Africa: Residents of Amalinda Say They Have Been Forgotten

28 November 2019

500 households with no electrification, months without rubbish collection, only two taps and a dozen working toilets

Shack dwellers in Amalinda Forest say they have been in and out of the Buffalo City Municipality offices pleading for basic services for over 15 years.

In 2000, there were only a handful of shacks in the East London settlement. There are now over 500 shacks, but only two taps for water. There are 16 toilets but four no longer work. For electricity, people rely on illegal connections. Several people have been electrocuted by the tangle of electrical wires that snake around the settlement. Waste collection services by the municipality has been poor and residents have resorted to burning rubbish.

Xosana Mka-Ernest, 60, has been living in Amalinda since it was established. She said she has lost track of how many times she was promised an RDP house.

"I depend on my neighbours if I want water, because I am not able to carry buckets to the taps ... I am old now. Sometimes I have to wait for my grandchildren to come from school," she said.

She lives with her husband and two grandchildren and the family depends entirely on social grants.

Most shacks have numbers painted on the outside. Residents say these are the site numbers given to them by the municipality after they registered for RDP houses. They say papers with numbers easily get lost, so they decided to write the numbers on their shacks to remind the municipality.

Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said that Amalinda will be investigated and a comprehensive report tabled for council.

Ward 16 Councillor Mzukisi Rhelu (ANC) promised to get back to GroundUp, but he never did.

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