By Anathi Wulushe

On Thursday, June 10, the shack dwellers of Ekuphumleni, Unobhetele, Manto, Joe Slovo, Eskom and Phola Park settlements of which all fall under Buffalo City Municipality (BCM) Ward 5 gathered nearby Zwelemfundo Primary School and marched to Scenery Park Community Hall led by march organisers Andile Faye and Sandisile Manyoni where they had arranged to meet with the Executive Mayor of the Buffalo City Municipality, Xola Pakati, in order to submit their Memorandum of grievances.

The shack dwellers scheduled to meet with the BCM Mayor at 13h00 at Scenery Park Community Hall but were left dismayed after the Executive mayor failed to show up with his delegation on time, the community said the date and time had been predetermined beforehand.

“We have records of which we wrote to the mayor on the 27 May 2021 to give him a NOTICE and alerted him on time that we are going to submit a memorandum here today,” said Andile Faye.

The memorandum of grievances was addressed by march organiser Sandisile Manyoni and told NTU News that the community members of which were in appearance outside Scenery Park Community Hall.

“We demand to the municipality to build us descent housing or excess to serviced plots, all of the informal settlements to be upgraded by being given sustainable services such as water, sanitation and electricity for the time awaiting for housing,” said Manyoni.

Following the tabling draft of the 2021/‪2022-2025‬/26 Integrated Development Planning (IDP), 2021/22 Medium Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF) Budget and the 2021/22 Draft Built Environment Performance Plan (BEPP) which was tabled at a Council meeting held on 31 March 2021, the shack dwellers of BCM Ward 5 demanded to be included in the 2021/‪22-2025‬/26 IDP budget.

“We as shack dwellers of Scenery Park have been asking the municipality for a long time to build us houses, we have been requesting these houses since 2018 but to date there are still no plans or a report on progress made by the municipality.”

“On the 31 August 2018, we wrote a letter to the office of the Executive Mayor asking for the municipality to accommodate us on the budget by giving us access to descent housing, we had raised the issue of the housing backlog at the previous year’s Mayoral Imbizo held on the 17 October 2017,” said Sandisile Manyoni.

After waiting an hour and a half for the BCM Mayor to show up, the fuming community members of ward 5 came to a unanimous decision on what their way forward was going to be.

“We are going to City Hall to hand in a petition giving the mayor and his delegation seven days to respond to our grievances,” said Andile Faye.

The Executive Committee of all the settlements of Ward 5 went to the City Hall and handed in their petition, now they are awaiting a response from the BCM Executive Mayor within the seven days’ period.

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