Mamelodi shack dwellers won’t get promised houses anytime soon

City of Tshwane says it intends to complete approval for a township for Stoffel Park in April 2024

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The City of Tshwane says it intends to make Stoffel Park informal settlement in Mamelodi a formal township. Many shacks are built on the side of a mountain with little access to essential services. Photos: Warren Mabona

  • Residents of Stoffel Park informal settlement in Mamelodi want the City of Tshwane to fast-track plans to formalise the settlement and establish it as a township.
  • Most households occupied the area over a decade ago.
  • The City provided about 2,350 residents with electricity and a dozen mobile toilets but more people have since moved to the nearby mountain side.
  • The City says it intends to complete the township establishment application in April 2024.

It will take at least eight months to recognise Stoffel Park informal settlement in Mamelodi for township development, according to the City of Tshwane.

People living in serviced shacks nestled on the mountain side say they are tired of waiting for government to fulfil its promise to provide them with houses. They say they moved here because they could not afford rent. They also wanted to live closer to work opportunities.

Mmatlala Mabelebene said she has been living in a shack on the mountain with her boyfriend and their two young children since 2018. They are unemployed, but survive on occasional piece jobs.

“I get very tired whenever I walk from the street up to my shack, carrying a heavy bucket full of water,” she said.

Mabelebene said they are begging the City to “find land for us”, but in the meantime the municipality should provide more mobile toilets and water tanks.

Tumelo Kekana, who works as a shelf packer, said he moved to the mountain in 2021. “I had no choice but to build my shack here. The money that I earn is not enough for renting a room. Life is not good here because it’s much colder in winter.”

Some residents have built pit toilets next to their shacks, while others said they relieved themselves in the bushes. There are water taps in some yards where the owners hired plumbers.

Tumelo Kekana erected his shack in 2021 because he could not afford the rents in Mamelodi.

The City says the land was earmarked for a housing development by the provincial department of human settlements, but the project was abandoned not long after as the informal settlement mushroomed and illegal mining established itself.

In 2013, the City began the process to formalise the informal settlement. The City requested the province to resuscitate the housing development, according to spokesperson Lindela Mashigo.

The City has provided basic services, such as electricity and rudimentary sanitation for 2,350 people in Stoffel Park.

But resident Thulani Shabangu said the City does clean the communal toilets weekly, but each home needs a toilet. “Street toilets are not safe. My wife cannot go to the toilet alone at night. There are many criminal activities in this settlement.”

Mashigo said people who are without electricity must have occupied the land later. Further occupations had occurred before an environmental impact assessment could be concluded. Completing the environmental assessment will assist in the installation of permanent services such as water, sewerage, roads and stormwater, said Mashigo.

“The City’s intention is to complete the township establishment application in April 2024 if all goes well,” said Mashigo.

TOPICS:  Housing

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