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Bobani promises to deliver services to Ikamvelihle informal settlements

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 13, 2019
Bobani promises to deliver services to Ikamvelihle informal settlements

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, on Wednesday visited Kamvalihle, near Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, where informal settlement residents had blocked the R335 Addo Road with burning tyres and rubble in a service delivery-related protest.

There were reports of the protesters also pelting passing vehicles with stones.

At Kamvalihle, there are currently two informal settlements. One, which is situated by the Addo Road called Nomakanjani and the other one, which is at the back of Kamvalihle called Asinavalo.

The R335 is a Regional Route that connects Port Elizabeth - through Motherwell, in the south to Somerset East to the north via Addo.

Why were residents protesting and closing the R335 Addo Road?

It emerged that Asinavalo residents had taken to the blocking the roadas a way of expressing their anger following a rumour that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had set aside money for an electrification project for Nomakanjani.

What angered residents of Asinavalo is that they felt neglected as they have been staying in an informal settlement longer than the residents of Nomakanjani.

Speaking for the residents of Asinavalo, Nondumiso Yawa said that as residents are appealing with the Municipality to reverse the money that was initially budgeted to electrify the area of Nomakanjani.

"That money must be reversed until it is enough to accommodate both informal areas so that everyone, who reside in an informal settlement gets electricity," Yawa told the media.

How has informal settlers been surviving without the electricity?

Currently, the informal settlers rely on illegal - and often dangerous, electricity connections to be able to cook and avoid staying in the dark.

'Izinyoka' is a common term that refers to illegal 'electricians' who illegally connect homes to the Eskom grid.

Many said that the reason why they moved out from their homes was because they felt that they were old to stay with their parents and their families so the solution was to move out and build their homes in the informal settlements as they wait for proper housing from government.

In the area, there are about 600-800 shacks with two or more people residing in them. They do not have access to tap water in these shacks and rely on one communal tap that was provided to them by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Amanda Mphako, who is also a resident in the area, said that she has been on the Metro's housing waiting list since 2005.

"When we ask where is that waiting list of 2005, nobody wants to take responsibility and answer our questions. We are old, but we give birth in our parents' homes," she said.

Bobani visits Kamvelihle and addresses protesting residents

Executive Mayor Bobani arrived and joined residents in song and dance - although the song was about residents are unhappy with him.

They sang: "Khanixelel'uBobani asoyiki, sisebenza kanzima (Tell Bobani that we are not afraid, we work hard); khanixelel'uBobani asilali sikakehlathini (Tell Bobani that we don't sleep, we relieve ourselves in the bush).

Addressing residents, Bobani promised residents of Asinavalo that the installation of electrical poles and water pipes will start today (Wednesday).

For toilets and other services, the Mayor said that he still needed to meet with the Councillors from Motherwell to discuss a way forward.

He said that he didn't know anything about money being set aside for Nomakanjani - and insisting that that was the truth as he is the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The people of Asinavalo were extremely happy by the news, but warned Bobani to not think he can fool them because they "are not afraid of going to jail".

"We hope you are not here to play with us by making empty promises because this protest was only a beginning," described one resident.

Another one said: "We started this protest early in the morning around 04:00 and if you think that by saying what you just said you are trying to rub margarine in our eyes, I'll send a snake to your house that will bite you and your family."

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