Gate 7 informal settlement residents block Voortrekker Road demanding City services

A metro police officer cleans Voortrekker Road in Kensington where residents staged a protest.Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

A metro police officer cleans Voortrekker Road in Kensington where residents staged a protest.Photographer Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published May 23, 2024


Cape Town - Residents occupying private land in Kensington yesterday blocked the busy Voortrekker Road, demanding services from the City.

The Gate 7 informal settlement community, which was established more than 10 years ago, said they had no toilet facilities, water or electricity.

They blocked the road yesterday with a small shipping container and burned tyres.

Affected resident Funeka Mayongo said: “I’ve been living on this land for 15 years. We don’t have services.

“For us to relieve ourselves, we use our buckets and then either dig a hole to bury our poop or throw it in the bushes behind our homes.

“Our homes are small, I live with 10 children, including two disabled children.”

She said the elderly and those who had chronic diseases were severely impacted by the lack of service delivery.

“They need water and the only way we get water is by going to the tent with the refugees who are fortunate to have all the services.

“We have to wash the sickly people. Some have died.”

Mayongo said that to have charged cellphones, they had to give it to those who went to work.

“The employed people take the phones and we get the phones a day later sometimes.”

Her husband, Lindile Manyana, said it was difficult to extend their shack.

“We have no space. Our children sleep on the floor.

“We ask that the City allows us to extend our shacks because they think that you are moving into the area.

“We have children living with disabilities and we need a proper home for them.”

Another resident, Longezo Mnyaka, said he lived with four children.

“One of them was sent home because of his wrinkly shirt. I had to take him to my relatives in Dunoon to iron the shirt.

“The children can’t even do their assignments because we have no electricity and wi-fi.”

Ward councillor Cheslyn Steenberg said he met with the settlement’s leadership, the KenFac Ratepayers Association and the Kensington Community Policing Forum, and requested that the City’s legal services intervene.

“I was clear that this matter requires a very sensitive balancing process, notwithstanding the right to water and sanitation, yet the respect to not occupy land illegally.

“The settlement further understands that they are unlawfully occupying private property and can be evicted by the owner of the land.”

The City said the informal settlement was situated on privately-owned land.

“When an informal settlement is situated on privately-owned land, only basic services can be provided with the permission of the land owner,” the City said.

“It is important to note that the property is privately-owned and this would require the current land owner to apply for basic services to be installed on the property.

“In informal areas, the City assists residents with water and sanitation services, solid waste and electricity services where it is possible to do so, and where the settlement is not on privately-owned land.”

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Cape Argus