Hundreds march in Cape Town demanding better housing

Shack dwellers and backyarders say their living conditions are unbearable

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Shack dwellers and people living in backyards in Browns Farm, Philippi, march to the Civic Centre in Cape Town on Monday. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso

Hundreds of people from Browns Farm in Philippi marched to the Cape Town Civic Centre and the offices of the Western Cape Human Settlements department on Monday, demanding better housing.

The marchers included backyarders and shack dwellers who say their living conditions have become unbearable. They complain about access to water, sanitation, public lighting and refuse removal.

“Philippi has grown rapidly since it was established more than 30 years ago. Over the last three decades many informal settlements have mushroomed due to lack of housing opportunities. Many of our settlements do not have basic services,” said community leader, Siyabonga Amos.

Nokulunga Bango, from Phantsi Kocingo informal settlement, said living in a two-room shack with five other people was not easy.

“I have been on the housing database for 20 years and I have never been updated on the progress of my application. My first-born child was born here, now he is old and has also erected a shack in a backyard.

“How long must we wait before we get the houses? We are told the City of Cape Town is a caring city but I don’t see that,” said Bango.

Ward 34 councillor, Melikhaya Gadeni (ANC), at the march, said, “People are frustrated. The City and Western Cape government need to prioritise Philippi when it comes to housing.”

Another community leader, Lonwabo Peter, said, “We need transparency from both the City and the province. They must make the housing database public so that people can see where their names are, because at the moment progress is stagnant.”

The memorandum was accepted by Patrick Ngqu, on behalf of Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, and Sandile Gqoboka, director at the provincial human settlements department. They both promised to respond to marchers within seven working days.

TOPICS:  Housing

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